Monday, May 31, 2010

Beachy inspiration

My family takes a big beach vacation for one week every August. As I was thinking about what I wanted my next project to be, I thought maybe I should make a big bright quilt to take to the beach! Sun, sand, surf and a big bright colored quilt to lay on...sounds perfect. So then I was stuck with the big task of deciding what design to make. I've really liked using the half square triangles, and liked the rail fence pattern, but I wanted to try something I haven't done before. I've been wanting to try a log cabin pattern, and in scouring Flickr and my favorite quilting blogs, I found this:
It's a quilt from Red Pepper Quilts. I love this design, and am using this layout as my inspiration.

I'm thinking of doing the log cabin blocks as color blocks in blue, green, yellow, pink, red, orange in purple

these are my completed blue blocks...

My blocks will be 10 inches x 10 inches and I'm planning on the finished quilt to be 80 inches x 80 inches (eek! by far the largest quilt I've made). I'm trying to use most fabric from my "stash" (its amazing how much fabric I've accumulated after quilting for less than 6 months!) I have my strips cut for the green blocks and am going to piece them in the next few days...stay tuned!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Getting a head start

This year for christmas, I've decided to try and do a completely "handmade" christmas, by gifting most, if not all gifts as sewing/quilting/knitting projects made by me. Not only does it make it a personal gift, I can only imagine we'll save some money once the Christmas spending begins.

As there are lots of people we typically buy gifts for, I figure it's never to early to get started! I'm going to try and work in a Christmas gift project in between each project I'm working on. Up first I started with my aunt, who is also my god mother and who we typically buy for. She's quite good in the kitchen and enjoys baking/cooking and crafting. (My mom says that I get my enjoyment of the those three things from her, because they certainly don't come from my mom!)

I decided to do an embroidered apron with her name on it, and 2 coordinating potholders/hotpads.

I made the apron reversible, and embroidered her name on the front of the print side, and then made some double fold bias binding in a bright red that I had that matched the red in the pattern perfectly and used that to make the neck loop and apron strings.

Now, I've never made potholders before, and in my online "research" I found recommendations to use a double layer of batting and a layer of canvas between the two layers of batting to help diffuse the heat, as opposed to buying the batting that helps with heat. This felt great thickness wise, and I think it will do the job of a potholder/hotpad, however it was a beast to quilt! With all those layers, my machine kept skipping stitches and I think I broke/bent 2 needles in the process.

and heres the back of the first potholder:

and heres the second one:

and the back:

These were super easy, I think all three things took me just one evening and the better part of this morning to finish completely. Does anyone have a better way that results in less frustrating quilting of the mammoth stack of fabric on the front? Perhaps I will look into the special batting designed to help with heat...

Tada! One Christmas gift down, a bajillion more to go...Merry Christmas in May!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fun and Summery

I was looking at my kitchen table the other day, and thinking that I needed something to spruce it up. It just looked so blah...plain and boring. I was shopping in my local Joann's and saw that they had this class for making applique placemats, and I fell in love and registered to take it immediately! The class was 3 hours on Sunday afternoon, and we actually completed one whole placemat, and I thought "I need to have more of these!"

So Monday, I was supposed to have Jury duty (blah) but ended up that I didn't have to go and was dismissed, so I already had the day off, so what did I do?? Made 3 more placemats all afternoon!

Since I'm new to quilting, and this was my first applique project, I'm not all that familiar with techniques, but this was super easy and fast! The bottom layer is sewn together with the batting, backing and bottom big flower, and you sewed 1/4 inch around the edge (cut a slit in the center of the bottom layer for turning) and then flipped it inside out to hide the seams (no binding!) then for the layers, you sewed the flower "petals" onto fusible interfacing and flipped it inside out (to hide the seams) and then pressed onto the main placemat piece. The last step was to use machine decorative stitching to sew along the edges of each layer. Like I said, super easy! And bright, sunny and perfect for summer.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

So I've started a blog...

So I've decided to start a blog. I'm not sure that anyone will read it or not, and that's ok, but I wanted somewhere to keep track of my artsy-craftsy projects, so here it is! It all started when my husband got me a sewing machine for Christmas this year. I had honestly never really sewn anything, aside from a gym bag made in home ec in middle school, but I thought it was something I could get into...well I LOVE it! More recently I've started quilting, and I don' t think there is any going back! I love creating things that are so pretty and interesting to look at.

My dining room has been taken over by all things neighbors probably look at me through the window and think, why is she ironing in her dining room?? The dining room table is just the greatest large cutting/sewing table, so that it has taken precedence over eating (luckily its just me and my husband, so we don't do that much eating at the dining room table, its more like we eat dinner on the couch watching dvr'd TV shows).

I think I'm just going to start posting pics of the few quilts I have made throughout the past few months and just kinda go from here's what I've been up to for the past few months...

This was my very first quilt top before I assembled it. It was supposed to be a baby quilt for my cousin's new baby girl, but I have decided to keep it for myself (more on that later) and have made another quilt for the new baby. Here it is finished... I free motion quilted it, and absolutely love the way it came out for my first attempt. I think the colors look a little muted here, but in real life the combination of blues, greens and yellows are so vibrant! It measures about 48 inches x 48 inches, and now makes a great lap quilt. Here's the quilt back...

I used some leftover strips I had cut for the front of the quilt and pieced it with a white with yellow tiny polka dot fabric and a soft yellow solid moda fabric, buttercup I think?? (BTW those are my husbands knuckles and knee caps you can see...Hi Babe!, what a great quilt holder-upper)

My second project was again a baby quilt. (We have quite a few friends/family members who are pregnant, and I seem to have gotten the quilting bug just in time to make baby quilts for them!!) This is for a baby girl, they haven't decided on a name yet, so as soon as the baby is born (any day now) I plan on embroidering the baby's name on the quilt

This quilt was made using the Modern Baby Quilt pattern by Oh Fransson! I love that there are so many different prints and block combinations. It measures about 40 inches x 40 inches, perfect crib sized quilt!
I had an unfortunate accident with my first quilt I made, It somehow got a hole in the bottom right hand corner of the quilt top! I think I somehow singed a small piece of fabric that was slightly metallic-y, and when I washed it, that portion literally just shredded :( After a minor breakdown and a small temper tantrum, I've come to terms with it, and it is now housed in my living room with an applique over the hole, and all is well. I now needed to make another baby quilt...and this is what I decided on:

I had seen this: http://http// and loved the clean lines, and thought "I can make that" so I thought I'd give it a try. Mom and Dad are very anti pink/lace girly girly, so I thought this was perfect, not to girly, but still pretty and feminine. I embroidered baby Allison's name onto the bottom right corner. I straight line quilted this quilt, I must say, I think I enjoy free motion quilting more than quilting in lines with a walking foot, but I thought it fit this quilt perfectly!

And here's a pic of the back:

Mom and Dad are super huge sports/football fans, and my cousin went to Penn State (Lets go PSU!!) So I had some Penn State fabric from a separate project and thought I should throw it in there! I hope little Allison loves her quilt as much as I do, it was shipped off to Indianapolis yesterday, so they should be receiving it soon!

Next up was a baby quilt for a co-workers friend. She had seen some of my projects I had taken into work to show off, and she asked if I would make a quilt for her friends new baby...I again used the Oh Fransson! Modern baby quilt pattern, and came up with this:

I was a little bummed that I apparently mis-centered Emma's name on the block I wanted it centered, but after my husband convinced me I was just being neurotic (Ha!) and that if I would quit pointing it out to everyone, noone would notice, I got over it, and just enjoyed the pink/green/yellow/brown goodness of this quilt!

Well, I think this post is getting quite long, so I'll just post one more thing...This is my absolute favorite thing I have quilted as of yet. I had seen this on a flickr post, and thought, "If this quilter ever makes a pattern for this, I will but it and make it immediatly, because I must have this!!" Lucky for me Carol (mamactj) did make a pattern for her Christmas tree skirt, and just like I had said, I bought it and made it!!
I just love that it is fresh and modern and so Christmas-y all at the same time! It was relatively simple to assemble, and so fun to pick out all the pretty christmas fabric in April! I had never done bias binding, but thanks to the wonderfulness of the internet and video tutorials, it was a piece of cake!

My only thought while making this is that I kinda wish it was just a touch bigger. It measures about 40 inches in diameter, which will be great for a pencil tree or smaller artificial tree, but we always get a big 5ish foot large live tree, so I think what I have in my head is to just make the triangles a little larger than the pattern calls for to make it 60 inches in diameter instead of 40, and then I can make a second one!! We'll see...
Here's just one more of the trees...I seriously can't wait for Christmas to use this!!...I already have ideas in my head for coordinating placemats and table runner for the dining room!

Anyways, I think this is enough for one day, I'm sure if anyone has decided to read, they are probably about done looking at my arts and crafts projects!