Apr 27, 2015

Gabby's Fish Quilt

When my son and daughter-in-law announced they were having a baby the whole family was thrilled! It's their first and that always brings lots of added excitement for the new parents.

I started thinking about a baby quilt, but wanted to wait until we knew if the baby was going to be a girl or a boy before I picked a pattern or fabric. 

They announced a little girl and that her room was going to have a fish theme. This is because they have a GIANT aquarium in that room and it wasn't going anywhere! So, they decided to work with it. What a great idea. They painted cute fish on the wall and found adorable bedding. I have always thought that the sight and sounds of an aquarium are very relaxing and soothing and that it would be wonderful to have one in a baby's room.

I started looking at quilt patterns and found this one on Craftsy. It was a free download and perfect for the nursery. It's called Kissing Fish.

I picked a cute backing fabric that looked like bubbles and 11 fabrics that would coordinate with the nursery and bedding they had picked out. 

I cut lots of little squares to make all of the fish.

And then I broke my arm. And had surgery on it. And was in a cast for seven weeks. And I couldn't sew at all. Even after I got my cast off I couldn't use a rotary cutter. Even scissors were challenging. Then it was Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. I made a quick quilt for my sister in law for Christmas and a quilt for another granddaughter for her birthday in January. I needed to get Gabby's made.

So, I started sewing fish. But this was a little more complicated than I thought it would be. I have only made one other quilt on point and it was hard for me too. I guess my brain prefers my squares to be in a traditional setting! But this one has the blocks turned going in two different directions. I was trying to keep my prints and colors spread out evenly. Then, to make matters worse, I decided to add one more fish all the way around the outside to make the quilt just a little bigger! So now I needed to figure out how to finish the outside edges of the quilt so they weren't on the bias! What had I gotten myself into? This is supposed to be a simple baby quilt!!!!

This "puzzle" sat on my design wall for over a month while I contemplated how to finish it. I cut triangles, but that was going to end up cutting the noses off my outside fish, and that just would not do! And what to do with the corners? 

I finally consulted with my local quilting partner-in-crime, Judy, and we came up with a solution to sew large rectangles onto the outside edges, trim them, leaving about 1" of white fabric beyond the noses and then sew a white border on. Once it is quilted the seams will not be noticeable. (I hope.)

Still this quilt occupied my design wall. I just couldn't get myself to finish it. I had hit a wall. And I haven't been quilting because I know that this is WAY OVERDUE!!! (Like my granddaughter was born in October and turned 6 months old this month!!!!!) If I was going to be working on anything at all, it was going to be this quilt. And this wasn't something I could work on for 10 minutes or even 30 minutes a day. I needed to get in there with several days in a row devoted to this quilt and this quilt alone.

Last week I spent a day with Gabby and her mommy and I was so embarrassed that Gabby was playing on the floor, sitting on the quilt I made for her mom. Shame on me for not finishing her quilt! 

So, I cleared my calendar for this week and have decided that this is THE WEEK Gabby's quilt will be finished!! Today I worked for hours on it. I now have all the the rows sewn together. That is a HUGE major accomplishment. Tomorrow I will be trimming the outside edges, sewing triangles on the four corners and adding the borders. I hope to get that all done in the morning so that I can make the backing tomorrow afternoon. I'm so optimistic that I have already taken my batting out of the package so it can relax before I start to sandwich it. 

This little sweetheart is getting her quilt very soon. I sure hope it will be worth the wait!

Oh, What A Mess!

I keep my quilt room pretty neat and tidy most of the time. I just can't work in clutter-it goes against my type-A personality. I can have two projects, at most, on my cutting table at one time. If I have three projects going, one of them has to sit elsewhere if I'm not working on it at that very minute. 

The same goes for my sewing surface. I have my sewing machine in a cabinet (in the center of the room) and the tables for my sit-down long arm back up to it. It makes for a large wide open surface for sewing or quilting large fabrics. I have to keep this area cleaned off too, because I don't like anything in the way when I'm stitching. 

A place for everything and everything in its place. 

Oh, but I failed miserably recently. My room was a total disaster last week! I have discovered a new-to-me blog and found a quilt on the site that has inspired me to step outside my Civil War reproduction fabric comfort zone. I want to make a "low volume" scrappy quilt. So, I needed to dump out my scrap bags, which contain darling fabrics from my daughter, Melissa, and look for treasure. As I was digging, I began sorting by color and pretty soon my room looked like this!

It took me three evenings to make that mess! But I found a nice stash of low volume fabrics for my new project. The next day I hit my favorite quilt shop and added 22 more fabrics to it. Today I ordered a few more online. I should be ready to start this new project in about a week. 

This week is dedicated to finishing my granddaughter's baby quilt before she starts preschool! She's 6 months old already and it's not finished. Shame on this Grammy!

Apr 24, 2015

Half Square Triangle Mini Quilt

While cutting and trimming on my 2015 swap blocks I have been saving ALL my scraps. My imagination has been working overtime thinking about what I am going to make with all my leftover pieces. I love the mini bowtie quilt I made recently and I want to make more to hang on my wire display with it. Small bits of fabric left over after you  cut for blocks or little triangle tidbits you cut off of corners are perfect scraps for mini quilts. 

As I was trimming the corner triangles on my swap blocks, this little pile on my cutting table got bigger and bigger. And tiny little bits can add up to cute quilts!

I sewed  several  triangles together and trimmed them to 1 1/2" squares. They were so adorable!! I'm not used to working with such tiny pieces of fabric, but this is fun and very addictive!

When I got four of them made I just HAD to sew them into a four-patch! It's official--I am "hooked on minis!"

I sent a picture to Pam (since it's all her "fault" I made the bowtie quilt) and asked if she happened to be saving her triangles from our swap blocks too. Seconds later this photo was texted back to me! I was not surprised in the least. :)

Pam and I have decided to trade triangles since we are using different fabrics for our blocks. It will give us more variety when we sew them all together. This will be my mini project I work on along side the block swap this year. 

Happy quilting! 

Apr 22, 2015

Mini Charms

Moda Fabrics calls their 2 1/2" squares "mini charms" and that is exactly what they are-charming!! I love them! They are so versatile and such a great size to work with. I have been cutting, saving, swapping and collecting my very own stash of them! I have not decided yet what I am going to make with them, but it's going to be fun, whatever it is! Whenever I get down to just a little bit of fabric left, I cut the remainder into 2 1/2" squares and it doesn't take long for the stacks to grow!

In fact, you end up with more little charms than you ever thought you would have! FAST!

I think they begin to multiply when you aren't looking. And that's just fine because the more, the merrier. They are so delicious. I look at them and the possibilities for blocks and quilts is just filling my brain and swirling around so fast they make my head swim. 

This is my collection of Civil War mini charms. I had to buy this container to put them in because my stacks were so tall they kept falling over. That's a tough problem to have, isn't it?

Each of these stacks is almost 9" tall. I estimated that there are about 1500 little squares of fabric here. That's over 6,000 square inches in those three stacks! If I sewed them all together just as they are, I could make a quilt top that measures about 70X86". I think that's amazing to be able to make a whole quilt out of a bunch of little squares that I might have thrown out as scraps a while back. With the ever rising cost of fabric, I think more and more of my quilts may have a lot of "charm" to them.

Happy quilting, 

Apr 20, 2015

A Little Sewing Humor

Sometimes this is the only way to describe a Monday...I hope you find some time to stitch today.


Apr 17, 2015

2015 Block Swap-March Blocks

I was way past due getting my swap blocks finished and in the mail this month. (BAD GIRL!!) I didn't even have a good excuse, like- "I broke my arm" or "I was out of town". Nope, I just didn't get them done. I had them cut out weeks ahead of time....but life happens and I don't always get to my quilt room to sew as often as I would like. 

Anyway....they are done and everyone should have gotten them in their mailbox by now. Everyone's blocks were beautiful again this month.

These are mine. I went with a two color theme to each of them this month. I didn't mix it up much. I have decided to use lighter lights for the next few months. I think my blocks are a little too "muddy". 

Here are Anne's, Karen's and Pam's blocks. Karen made five this month. We each need to make two extra blocks for our swap, in addition to the four we are making each month, so she decided that this was the month she was going to make an extra block with a dark center. Karen is always ahead of the game. Way to go, Karen!!

We now have 33 blocks for our quilts. We're getting there!! This is another fun swap.

Happy quilting!


Apr 15, 2015

Bowtie Mini Quilt

About a year ago I bought a really cute wire stand to display three mini quilts on. I also bought a pattern with three mini Amish quilts to go on it. 

The pattern is Mini Amish Trios by Suzanne's Art House and you can buy it here. You can buy the wire stand here. Both of these websites have lots of cute stuff, so look around while you are there!

I set the frame up on my shelf and just knew it would inspire me to get busy making some mini quilts.. But, alas-it did not. :( 

Fast forward to March when Pam decided to make the bowtie mini quilt. She had cut "extra" squares and decided to send them to me. I was really excited to get them from her and even more excited when I realized she had cut enough for me to make all 15 bowties!

They were so cute that I just couldn't resist starting to sew them up right away! They went together quickly, too. I was having so much fun and before I knew it, I had the whole top finished.

I decided to quilt 1/8" around the inside and outside of each bowtie. Quilting on black fabric with black thread is hard! But I flooded the area with lots of light and it helped.

It doesn't take long to bind a 6X10" quilt, either. So, this little mini was finished in a flash.

I bought 1" clothespins at JoAnn's to hang my quilt. I didn't feel like sewing a hanging sleeve on the back and I thought the clothespins were a cute touch. One down, two to go!

Happy Mini Quilting, 

Apr 13, 2015

Sewing Runner From Pam

I went back through my blog posts this morning and realized that I never blogged about this adorable sewing themed runner that Pam's mom made and Pam gave to me! She made several for Pam to give to friends for Christmas last year. It's just too cute not to show it off on my blog. 

It measures 6 1/2 X 25" and each block is unique. I think these hand quilted scissors are just too much fun and the measuring tape between each block is a detail I would never have thought of.

I love the dimension that this jar of buttons gives the runner. The buttons are all sizes, shapes and colors. It's my favorite block.

The pincushion even has a wool strawberry and leaves attached. No detail was overlooked. 

I have this runner on the coffee table in my quilt room and I love looking at it. Thanks for letting me share it with you.

Happy quilting,

Apr 10, 2015

Pin Cushion Collection

I read somewhere that if you have three or more of something then it's officially a collection. If that's true, then I have a great collection of pincushions! My friends know that I love them and they have made and given me some fabulous ones! I should have blogged about them before now, but I had them spread around here and there in my quilt room, and I didn't really realize what a nice collection of them I have!! I decided last week to gather them all in one spot and was surprised at how many I have. 

I got three new pincushions for my birthday this year! (Insert big smile here)

Anne made me this adorable one.  She felted the green wool into the cute aluminum mold, then painted the bunny chocolate and added the flowers with pin centers! How cute and seasonally appropriate! I love it so much that it will be out year round-not just at Easter.

I got this cute wool strawberry from my friend Karen. She didn't say whether or not she made it herself, but she's such a great crafter that I'm betting she did.

My daughter, Melissa, made this precious red polka dot chicken pincushion/thread catcher for me. I have already positioned her right next to my machine and put her to use. I love her! 

Anne also felted these two pincushions for me about 2 years ago. That's a real acorn "hat" the tiny one is made into. The flower is made on the top of an old wooden spool. That girl is so clever!

Years ago, my friend, Melissa, made this pincushion in a tea cup-it was officially the first pincushion in my collection.

Pam found this old egg cup at an antique shop and made a fun pincushion using feedsack fabric on the top! I love that she topped it with a button-it's so "Pam".

To keep with a chicken theme, I love this chicken pincushion with the beaded waddle and comb! He's weighted and stuffed with polyfil.

Anne also felted this adorable mouse. I think she is my favorite of all. Anne named her Thimblelina, and I think the name is just perfect for her.

Just look at this sweet face! What's not to love about her?

I hope you enjoyed a little peek at a few of my pincushions. I was inspired last week to try my hand at making a pincushion. I made this little one for a friend and had a great time doing it. I think I'll be making more in the future!

Happy "Pinning"

Apr 8, 2015

Red X-Stitch Quilt

My birthday was last month and I got wonderful gifts from my family and friends. And some of them were even quilting related! :)

Pam and Anne came to visit me the first week of the month and brought me a fabulous old quilt. What a wonderful gift! Anne told me that she thinks the quilt may have been made by her son-in-law's grandmother. It originally had a ruffle around the outside edge, but after soaking the quilt and getting out the stains, Anne removed the ruffle. She then passed the quilt off to Pam, who put a solid red binding on it. 

I'm tickled to death with my new old quilt. Isn't it just delicious?

Anne pointed out the very thick thread that the quilt maker used to quilt the quilt---and the fact that she didn't bury any of her knots! A lot of work went into all of the X-stitch and it's baffling to me that she wouldn't have buried her quilting knots. :) I think the "thread" she used was just too thick! But I love a quilt with a good story, or even a mystery, so I think it's so fun that the quilt isn't perfect. What it is, is perfectly beautiful!!!

This year I am re-doing my guest bedroom in red and white and this quilt is going to be a perfect accent in the room!

Thank you, Anne and Pam!! I love it!!

Happy Quilting!

Apr 6, 2015

Chicken Pincushion and Thread Catcher

My youngest daughter, Melissa, made me an adorable pincushion/thread catcher for my birthday. I LOVE chickens and my favorite color is red-so this is absolutely perfect! Melissa is a great seamstress, pattern designer and blogger so I wasn't too surprised to get a gift from her that is hand made. What does amaze me is the fact that she has four kids, ages 2-6, and she finds time to make me something for my birthday! She's a sweetie. 

Isn't it just too cute? I love using it!! It makes me smile every time I look at it. 

Happy Stitching!