Monday, August 25, 2014

Aspen Glow Quilt Along

The Cora's Quilts Aspen Glow quilt along is starting on 9/1/14 and I signed up.  It's my first quilt along ever (cyber or real).

These Bluebird Park fat eighths have been sitting around in my stash for a while, so when I saw there was a quilt pattern using Kate and Birdie Paper Co fabrics, I thought, "hey I should make that and I can use these."
This picture was actually taken a week ago- I finished cutting these into pieces for a lap quilt, though I am still working on the many little pieces of white fabric.

Believe it or not, I have ambitions of completing a second Aspen Glow quilt for our queen bed.  This does not mean that the quilt will cover the entire bed, because DH is sort of like a spaghetti spoon in bed and twirls everything - sheets, quilts, sometimes cats- around him as he tosses and turns at night.  But, I can certainly use it if this winter was anything like last winter.

So, here is the general idea for the fabrics for the second quilt.  Some Winter's Lane, a plaid called Honky Tonk Chili Pepper Campfire Coffee (!) by Moda, taupe fabric from the local quilt store for the background.  I'm probably not using the gray with white flowers for this one- but it works as a stand-in until the real fabric arrives.
I wanted something similar to the color choices in the winter color-way as described in the pattern instructions.  It should match the bedroom wall color, and I just like the mint, red, and white together.  One of my favorite color combinations.

I look forward to seeing what others choose for their fabrics!

Goodnight Moon! the quilt

The wonky star quilt took nearly a year of fiddling, procrastinating, and finally quilting for me to complete.  It is beautiful and I already love cuddling with it (and usually a cat).

And then I saw this Goodnight Moon fabric on sale online, and when it got to my house I made a complete quilt out of it in three days.  Three days! If inspiration would always hit so quickly.  (Maybe not- I can't really afford to make a quilt every three days).

I love Goodnight Moon.  This was required, repeated reading in the house growing up, and since I was the oldest of four kids, I did my share of reading it to the younger kids.
There were actually these panels for sale, which are from Quilting Treasures, and also some organic fabric with Goodnight Moon patterns from Cloud 9 was on sale.

I didn't follow a pattern. I cut out the individual panels and then made borders around each one so that they came out to be all the same size.  Originally, two panels were smaller than the others.

I decided to use the rest of the fabric in what I guess you could call a three-patch pattern - one long rectangular block paired with two square blocks to create a larger square.  I included some white blocks in there to stretch the Goodnight Moon fabric farther, but also to break up the rich primary colors of the fabric, as inspired by the book.

Then, put the panels in near the top and sewed it all together.
I did meandering free-motion quilting, just like on the wonky star quilt.  It turned out ok- my Janome machine seems to get choked up on the top thread a bit, though.

I did actually remember to save a selvage to make a label this time.
And the final quilt...

Which was immediately taken over to my parents' house and loved on by my mom, my 6-year-old niece, and I'm sure the border collie as well.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Wonky Star Quilt

This is my wonky star quilt inspired by this tutorial, and by this quilt on Flickr, using PB&J charm squares plus some Denyse Schmidt fabrics and one red fabric that belonged to my late Granny.

This quilt took nearly a year to make.  It started on an eventful day about a year ago, when my husband and I left the teenagers at the Mall of America with their aunts and uncles and drove west to see some Archean gneiss in an abandoned quarry.
No, I will not spare you from pictures of rocks.  Actually, we only got a couple of miles down the road before we hit a huge piece of metal on the highway in Minneapolis and ripped our tires to shreds. So first, we had new tires installed on the car.  Then we went to the quarry.

On the way back, we stopped at this cute quilt shop, and this is where I found the PB&J charm packs.
I had seen wonky stars in various places on the internets, but it took me a bit to come up with a design.

 I started with the idea of having lattices surrounding the squares, but I liked the stars so much I didn't want to detract from them.  So then I was left with this:

Which didn't have enough color for me.  Lucky are those people who can actually have mostly-white quilts- I don't think one would stay pristine in my house for very long.  Also, this was meant as a lap quilt, and this was not nearly enough stars.  So, I started adding reversed stars and smaller stars, and rearranged and rearranged...

The backing is Denyse Schmidt fabric from Joann's.  Binding from PB&J.

And the result, unquilted:
And quilted:

This is the first time I tried quilting in a meandering pattern- ie, not straight-line quilting.

Woohoo! This one is a lap quilt for me.  I am not looking forward to winter after the last one, but at least I can cuddle under this in my armchair in front of the fire.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

November XOXO Quilt

Ok, so it's been 6 months since my last blog post.  Time flies when you're applying for tenure, teaching, taking care of various people.  I actually have accomplished some quilting during this time.

This first quilt I made over the course of about a couple of weeks in November.  Our friend and neighbor was hospitalized, so I made a quilt for him so he could stay warm in his easy chair in between medical treatments. 

Here is the final result:

This was an easy quilt to piece.  It just has one block!  I had seen similar quilts online, so I just figured out how to make the block by looking at pictures.  However, there is a nice video tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company that explains how to make this type of quilt.

Each block takes one 5" square and two 2.5" squares that match each other.  This is great for using up (a small portion of) the scrap bin.

I was not quite so fastidious as the quilting video method- I simply lined up the 2.5" squares with the corners of the 5" squares and sewed - no pre-ironed creases.

It took a lot of rearranging to figure out where to place the light and dark X's and O's.  At first, I arranged the X's and O's in a linear fashion like a tic-tac-toe board, but it just didn't look right with this scrappy quilt.  So, I offset the rows.

The back ended up looking somewhat scenic with some trees and a swath of blue fabric from the local Gift n' Thrift.  I kept the quilting very simple because I'm still not very good at it, and I had very little time to get this done.

Woohoo!  Washed and ready to go.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 23 Garden

An update of the garden:

Zucchini mania is in full swing. I will refrain from posting pictures of piles of zucchini on my countertops.  Yellow squash are the same- in fact, they seem to be winning the "no one wants them, even if you are giving them away" award this year.

The carrots are done! They are not that sweet, but handy internet research tells me that it is way tooo hot for sweet carrots.
A tour of the garden: some extra zucchini plants next to remaining onions and what were supposed to be garlic but instead are leeks (thanks Burpee :( )
 More carrots....

 Cherry tomatoes and a random cabbage.

The broccoli is done and removed.  Cabbages are still growing, but full of holes from bugs.
 Corn and sunflowers....
 Basil! Italian basil and Thai basil (new to me this year).
 More tomatoes...
 Cucumbers and zucchinis
Beans and more beans.  I know I planted asparagus beans, but the other two varieties will be a surprise.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Yoga mat hoagie bag

What to do with leftover Glimma charm squares from the last quilt I made?
I love this fabric, and I wanted to make something with it that I would be able to use and enjoy.

My "quilt inspector" cat is also a "yoga mat inspector."  She managed to "try out" my yoga mat within 5 minutes of me bringing it home this summer (the yoga mat usually stays in my office, but the building is being renovated this summer).

So, it seemed like a good idea to make a nice hoagie-shaped bag for my yoga mat and towel to prevent further "inspection."

This is the first project for me using my new Janome sewing machine (DC2012 on sale!)

I did not use a pattern to make the bag, but I was inspired by Jane's Girl Designs Tutorial based on an Amy Butler pattern.

I started by measuring the length of my loosely-rolled yoga mat.  Then, I added a few inches to the length to get the length of the bag because I wanted a little extra room in there for a yoga towel and maybe a water bottle.

For the bag ends, I just went around the house looking for circular templates that were bigger then the loosely-rolled end of my yoga mat, but not too big.  I found a small mixing bowl that worked, and used it to trace circles on the blue solid Glimma fabric for the ends of the bag.
I decided I wanted to do a quilt-as-you go bag because I wanted to try quilting on my new machine, and because I thought the bag needed some reinforcement beyond normal quilting cotton fabric.  You can see in the picture above that I also cut circles of the yellow lining fabric and batting circles at the same time.  I cut the blue and yellow fabrics about 1/4" wider than the original circle, so that I could sew the ends to the sides of the bag later.  Then I quilted each of these circles.

The sides came together from my remaining Glimma squares and some extra blue fabric.
I made two rectangle-shaped sandwiches of Glimma, batting, and lining fabric- one for each side of the zipper in the top of the bag.  I quilted each of these as well.  I made sure the rectangles were wide enough so that when put together they would have plenty of overlap around the circumference of the bag (ie, I could cut the extra material away when I sewed them together).

I basted the two rectangles together on one side, and then installed a 24" zipper in the basted side, like I was sewing a zipper into a dress (see this cool tutorial by Make it & Love it for instructions).

At this point, it was about 10:30 at night, I had a 17-year-old wanting help on designing letters for a sewing project she was working on, it was yukky hot even in the house, and I lost patience for taking more pictures.

The next steps were: adding a small strap to each of the round ends of the bag;

Then assembling the ends and sides together.  This is a little fidgety- I pinned one end to the sides to see how much extra fabric I had on each side, then carefully marked the seam location on each rectangle, sewed them together, and then cut off the excess fabric.  Then, I went back and pinned the ends to the sides again and sewed the ends to the sides.

I always thought it would make sense to use a yoga strap as a bag strap, so I wanted to try to make my own yoga strap and make it into a detachable handle for the bag.  It's really easy- just buy D-rings from your local craft store, measure and sew together at least two layers of fabric using plenty of quilting, then stitch off one end of the strap and add the D-rings to the other end.
The strap attaches to the bag by slipping it through the loops on both ends of the bag and using the D-rings to attach the strap to itself.
 Yay!  Now to try it out at yoga class today.