Sunday, March 29, 2015

Ohh Baby Baby

Sweet baby quilt!  

Yes, there is still snow at my house.  This is the same rock I usually use for my photos, and there's about a foot of snow still in front of  it.  It borders the drive, so some of that is from shoveling, but there's still plenty of snow elsewhere.

This fabric collection is Little Brown Bear by Janet Jones for Quilting Treasures, and available at Fabrics N Quilts.  I had won a gift certificate for entering the Scrap Quilt Challenge last year, and purchased these fabrics.  They are so sweet!  Cute bears, bumble bees and a fun pindot in aqua.

I used the pattern Girls Best Friend by Quilt In A Day.  Are they diamonds or are they stars?  Great pattern!  I sewed it on my  1954 Singer 15-91, and quilted it on my Viking Sapphire 850.  I put super soft minkee fabric on the back.  When I brought the top to JoAnn's to get the backing, I knew I wanted cuddle fleece or something soft.  I love that for a baby quilt.  I picked out the few I thought would look good.  One was pale pink with embossed stars.  The other was blue, and I picked the brown.  I would have gone with a lighter tan shade, but they didn't have it.  I prefer the cuddle fabrics that have a knit back, so they are not too stretchy.  That would make the quilting really difficult.  The customers all said the quilt looked more boyish, and that the brown would be best.  I had already decided on the brown, but it's always fun to get opinions.  As for the boyish, I actually thought it looked more girlish, with the peach.  It's always fun to hear the different viewpoints.

I used the awesome Aurifil 50wt Mako thread to quilt it and piece it.  All of my machines use Aurifil. I never have any problems with it.  No breaks, great color matches, and it just looks so good!   I used 2320, a sweet honey tan color, that looks awesome.  I tested a peachy pink, and creamy colors, and even the blue/aqua, but this one looked the best.  Because of the minkee, it really sinks into the fabric, and looks great against all the colors.  I accented the diamond design by just doing a curved diamond to the points, in all of the blocks.  The inner border was left open, and the outer has feathers.  I didn't want the quilt to be too stiff, and lots of dense quilting can do that.  Since minkee has a nap and can stretch, the less quilting you do on it, the better, I think.   Batting is Warm & Natural, so this quilt is totally cuddle-worthy.

I'm linking with QuiltShopGal's #Creativegoodness.  You really need to check out the other posts and see what others are working on.  You can learn something and be inspired!

Visit #Creativegoodness HERE

Creative Goodness at QuiltShopGal
Thanks for visiting!  Have a great week!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Christine's #Tulapink Machine Cover

My friend Christine LOVES Tula Pink.  She often gets the collections when they come out.  She also LOVES hexagons, English Paper Piecing.  She works on them constantly, and often has 2 or 3 different projects going.  Last year, on one of our sewing days, she showed me this pretty Hexie fabric she made.  We had just unpacked her new Juki sewing machine, and were discussing what to do with the pieced rectangle she had, and knowing it was Tula fabric, I suggested a machine cover.

Do you cover your machine?  Many recommend it if you don't sew daily.  I don't often cover my Viking.  It's used very often, and is not near a window.  Although it can get a little dusty, the plastic will not be affected by UV light.  You've seen some plastic items turn yellow from sunlight, right?  It's not really good for it.  It can make the plastic brittle, and who wants that ugly discoloration?  I do recommend covers if your machine will be out near a window.  Christine had just gotten a desk to set her machine on, and it's right under the window in her dining room.  So, the idea of using her Tula fabric as a machine cover was perfect.  She wanted the machine to be available when she had time to sew.  Before she got the desk, she needed to clear the table, set up the machine, and then take it down again for meals.  So, she didn't get as much sewing time as she wanted.  Now, she can sew, just by turning the dining room chair around.

I offered to finish the machine cover for her, as a birthday gift.  She had the yard of fabric that I used for the back and sides, and I added the lining fabrics and batting.  I opted to applique the hexagons onto the strips on the side to make the piece wide enough for her Juki, and added the piece for the back.  I quilted the pieces for the body and sides using Aurifil 50wt thread in a dark olive green.

I did a feathered heart over the center front, and feathers and stipple around the sides and back.  I want the quilting to be dense enough to help this stand up.   I may add a fabric handle at the top to make it easier for her to get it off the machine, but I'll talk to her about that.  I used my serger to finish the inside seam edges, and binding from the yard of Tula fabric for the bottom edge.

Here's the inside, and a peak at the quilting.

So, here it is on my Viking.  It fits well.

Hmmm, maybe I need a Tula cover for my machine, too.  Christine's birthday is just a few days after mine.  I hope she loves it!

And if you need a cover, there are lots of tutorials on the web for making one.  I do plan to make one for the vintage machine (first photo) but that's a smaller machine than the Juki.  I need to come up with a cute idea for it.  Measure your machine's width, height, and depth, and have fun!

Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

How Charming!

Creative Goodness at QuiltShopGal

#Creativegoodness again!  Since I decided to participate in the Project Quilting challenge, using charm squares, (5" pieces), I discovered a few that I had purchased years ago.  When I first started quilting, and buying cottons, I did quite a bit of buying from Ebay.  A few sellers often had good deals on either manufactured packs of charms (the collection) or ones they cut and packaged.  I have a few packaged sets I didn't know what to do with, so they got stored in baskets on the shelf in my studio.  The collection bundles are multiple packs, with some yardage to match (for most, after I realized I needed the coordinates for binding and borders) and enough to make a quilt.  The seller cut packs are...not.  Not enough to make a quilt, and without coordinates for borders or binding.

That poses a challenge!  Especially when the packs are older, as the fabrics are most likely out of print.  Some may be available, but since I'm on a Use the Stash challenge with Christine, I'm trying NOT to buy.  I'm allowed to purchase border and binding, but I'm trying not to.

One of the packs was an assortment of 4 prints from the Park Slope collection by Erin McMorris for Free Spirit fabrics.  I had to google Park Slope to get that info.  I have 8 charms of each print, with just a label of the name and the name of the shop.  Nothing in my stash was similar in design, and although I could have added a solid, I chose to just sew the squares together, and quilt it.  I decided to do a table runner.
Yes, that's a thick layer of ice on my patio table, under the runner.  After I had cleaned the table for the last runner's photos, it snowed again on the first day of Spring, and that melted and turned into the ice you see there.

I was inspired by the flowers so I did loops and flowers in the quilting design.  The back is a solid white muslin, with Warm & Natural batting.  Thread is the sweetest lime green by Aurifil, 50wt, Color 1231.  Although I have a blue variegated, and some aquas that would work, the lime just added the right touch to this bright runner.  

 Here I was testing out the photos using props on the small dresser.  I'm not sure I really like either, but the top was perfectly sized for this dresser, which was part of my son's nursery set.  When he was little, we made a changing table frame for this.  It was made with wood and covered in fabrics that matched the quilt a friend made for me, and had a vinyl covered foam pad inside.  We took it off when Matt was out of diapers, and he used this dresser for years.  It's now in the guest room (and still filled with his toys and books, lol)  Although the walls and accessories in the guest room are mostly blue, they really didn't accent the colors in the runner.
 I also tested out a few different fabrics for the binding.  I felt the pink was just too bright, and although it accented the pink in the flowers, was just too much.  Taking a photo can sometimes help show the better choices.  I picked the one on the bottom left, the leaves.  It was the best color match, and least glaring choice.  The one at the 12 o'clock position was just off in color.  The next was too dark, the next too light.  I had one in lime green, but it was not the right shade for this.

This was a fun, fast and easy project.  Perfect use of the charms, after all this time.  And great to play with creating a quilting design, and using colors I seldom use, like aqua and lime.  I worked on this during International Quilt Day, and used fabrics from my stash, and leftover pieces of backing and batting.  I do think that's the perfect thing to do for #quiltygoodness.

What have you done lately?
Thanks for visiting!


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rising to the Challenge

I'm a bit competitive at times, and often like doing challenges, especially if there is a prize involved. I prefer ones with a date to enter, and then random for the prize.  When I was teaching at the college, the (self imposed) challenge was to get my grade reports in before the last class for the semester ended. I planned my time and had a spreadsheet that calculated grades, and as the students finished the finals, I graded them, plugged in the numbers, and entered the grades to the registrar's portal.  By the time my class time was over, my grades were done, and I was on a break from work until classes started again.  I loved that, especially when I realized others still had work for days, grading papers.  Who knew that strategy would work for me in quilting, as well.  

Kim Lapacek at Persimmon Dreams has been hosting a Project Quilting challenge for 6 seasons, and although I've seen the challenge, and thought about doing some, either the timing was wrong, I didn't finish in time, or I was not inspired within the time frame to do something to enter.   This week's challenge is to use only charm squares.  Hey!  I have quite a few collections of them.  Those are pre-cut 5" squares.  Many come in sets, with all the varieties of a designer's fabric collection.  It's like the Whitman's Chocolates box, only in fabric.  Fun!  

But many of my collections are planned for larger quilts, which I know I can't get done in a week, on top of my other sewing deadlines.  So, I dug through my baskets of Charms and found a few that were single packs, from 20 to 40 pieces.  I decided to use Moda's Gypsy Rose by Fig Tree Quilts.  I looked online and the group was printed in 2008.  Hmmm, These have been here for a while.  I should use them!  

So, I went through my patterns, and love using the single packs with the Anka's Treasures Little Charmers patterns.  Since our challenge was to use only charms, no sashing or borders, I picked this one.  
I separated out the colors, and grouped them with the neutrals in the pack.  I needed to add one more neutral, so I cut a 5" square from Moda Bella Solid to coordinate.  

The whole top was together in less than 2 hours.  Why did I procrastinate doing this?  I should be challenging myself to make one runner a week, in between other larger projects, just to get items finished and in my Etsy shop.  

I layered it with a white backing and Warm & Natural (scraps from a larger quilt) and quilted it with Aurifil 50wt in 2215 peach.  I did just a simple petal in the Hourglass block centers, and filled the borders and the cream sections in with feathers.  Slightly swirlier feathers than I usually do, just to challenge myself again.  

When I first started buying charm packs, I neglected to purchase additional coordinating fabric for borders and binding.  I've since realized that having the coordinates are important, so I make sure to locate some while the fabrics are still in print, but in this case, even though many of Fig Tree's current fabrics would coordinate, I picked a peach floral I had in my stash to make the binding.  I'm actually trying to use my stash, so this project served many purposes.  
!.  It was a challenge to enter for a prize.
2.  It used fabric I had.
3.  It used up scraps of batting and backing.
4.  It was quick and I was able to get it listed in my store.
5.  The colors are good for the current Spring and Summer season, and scrappy looking quilts seem to sell faster for me.  

So, Kim, can we do this challenge again next week, and the week after, and ...

Thanks for visiting! 


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Quilted Creative Goodness

I'm linking up with QuiltShop Gal's #CreativeGoodness

Creative Goodness at QuiltShopGal

I had some "play" time this week.  I try to enter the Aurifil Designer of the Month Challenge each month.  I still have a few blocks to finish from last year, and those are next on the list of things to make on the vintage machines, but I did have time to make 9 small (6") Chunky Churn Dash blocks, and finish the top for February.  The blocks were made on my vintage machines, but the top was finished on the computerized model.  I'm finding I do that almost all of the time.  I can piece blocks when I need a computer break, or while something is cooking, and then, when it needs to be officially pressed, I bring it downstairs and finish the sashing, borders and the rest down there.  I'm not going to set up an ironing board in my dining room.  That's just too extreme (although I do have an extra board and iron).  

Anyway, here's my entry.  I LOVE the colors, and the fabrics from Island Batik's Full Bloom collection.  The colors are just gorgeous, and the prints add just the right touch to the blocks, without being too big. 

I'm not so sure about the outside border, though.  It may be too "pastel" for the rest of the blocks, although it has the right colors in it.  I'll let that thought process for a few days until I decide, then I'll get this quilted.  

If you look at Joanna's design (see above link), you'll notice she used the grey background as the frame, and varied her sashing.  I had a small piece of the rainbow dot fabric, not enough for the sashing, but perfect for the background frame in each block.  I used pieces from the blocks for the cornerstones, and the same white background (tone on tone) for the sashing as in the blocks.  That's where the Creative Goodness part lies.  Making something as a challenge, but making it your own, too. 

The rainbow fabric is called Kool Aid, and I felt it was the perfect inspiration for the warmer weather to come.  

And today, it's snowing and very windy.  Not a lot of snow, but enough to "clean up" the piles.  So, although I'm inspired by Spring colors, Mother Nature is still holding onto the weather of winter.  

Thanks for visiting!  You'll find the new Aurifil design for March on the Auribuzz blog soon!  It's a great challenge!  Since the year is filled with minis, it's a great time to build precision piecing skills. 


Wednesday, March 11, 2015


I adore twins and multiples!  My Sister-in-law is one of identical twins (and unless you know both, you can't tell them apart, even now).  My nieces are twins, too.  It's so much fun to see twins, and learn about how they grow, and communicate, and are different, but the same.  It's fascinating.  

When a friend contacted me to make 2 baby quilts for her, I was thrilled.  These are fraternal, not identical, and that's just as much fun, especially when one is a boy and the other is a girl.  She sent me the fabric, and we discussed possible designs.  I decided to use the Quilt In A Day Piece of Cake pattern.  It's made with 10" squares, and since the fabrics had larger prints, it was a great way to feature all the fun colors and designs.  

The girl's quilt is made with florals, butterflies, and ducks, in bright pink, yellow, aqua, spring green, and orchid.  I used a solid white sashing to break up the colors, and quilted it with Aurifil 50wt in 2588, a deep magenta pink.  It's the perfect thread!  It added dimension and a spark of color, but didn't make the quilt busier.  I quilted flowers, swirls, and butterflies over the top.  The backing fabric was pieced from leftovers of the top.  I normally don't do this, but it was fun to come up with a way to use as much fabric as Suzanne had sent.  This quilt has Warm & White cotton batting, and measures about 52 by 68", which is a very generous size for a baby.  These would be perfect for tummy time, and toddler beds, and then throws when they get older.  

 For the boy, Suzanne sent a variety of fabrics from the Disney Cars movie.  I added some that I had, mostly the red with the closeup of Lightening McQueen, and the lighter blue.  I had made a Cars quilt for my great nephew a few years ago, so I had some left.  I think the quilt needed red!  The sashing is a blue tonal fabric.  I used the Checkered Flag print for the center blocks, and binding, and the backing was pieced from the checkered flag fabric and the tan background that's in the squares and border.  I think this is a fun quilt.  It was quilted with swirls and loops, and the words ZOOM, VROOM, and CARS, using Superior King Tut thread in a variegated red.  It's a heavier thread than I used on the ducky quilt, but I felt it was the best color for this quilt, and I didn't have something similar (yet) in Aurifil.    I'm hoping the boy has fun tracing the words and loops when he gets older.  

Since they were made for twins, I wanted to keep the designs the same, but show the fabrics well.  I'm thrilled with how they came out!  

I love the challenge of a custom design.  This was different because Suzanne had picked the fabrics.  Lots of fun!  Both are on their way to Suzanne to give to the sweet little twins.  I hope they enjoy them for years to come!

Thanks for visiting!  


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Happy International Woman's Day

Today the world celebrates women.  How are you celebrating?

I decided to do a little work on 2 of my favorite vintage machines, since both got a little ornery last night.  The 15-91 is always in the dining room.  The Featherweight is visiting there for now.  

The 1957 Featherweight's bobbin ran out.  That machine is set up with a 1/4" foot with a guide, and I'm using it to sew half square triangle units, and flying geese blocks.  The guide helps me stay on the drawn line so I get an accurate seam.  

The 1954 Singer 15-91 in the trapezoid cabinet had tension issues.  I went to bed.  

Today, I decided to do a Carnuba wax on both, and give them both oil, new needles, and clean the lint in the bobbin area.  The 15-91 has a fabric guide.  It's perfect for sewing blocks and strips, but I would need to move the guide for sewing the triangles and geese, as those are sewn in the middle of a patch, not the edge.  I try not to move it, though, because it's a perfect seam where it is.  I love both for their great stitches and ease of use, but they are also both so pretty and sound so sweet.  It's very relaxing to sew on these vintage machines.  Things seldom go wrong, which is why I treated them both well today.  Now they are purring again, and look at those adorable Chunky Churn Dash blocks they stitched!  Both machines love Aurifil, and I'm using the #Islandbatik  Full Bloom Bundle to create the Aurifil Designer Mini Block of the Month, Chunky Churn Dash quilt.  

I'm using a white tone on tone for the background. I have the colors picked out for the rest of the 9 blocks, and hope to have them done soon.  I'm also working on quilting the baby quilts downstairs, in my studio.  

I haven't gotten tons of time to work over the last few weeks.  Mostly because of the weather and related issues, including this. 

In the Northeast part of PA, we've had a wicked winter, including many days below 0*F and one night of minus 50* windchills.  I woke up to no water.  My pipes had frozen.  When they finally thawed, after 2 days, the pipe to the bathroom burst.  Luckily, I was down in the basement when this happened, and was able to get to the main to shut off the water before too much damage occurred.  That tan cabinet (with the pink toolbox) is the base of my sewing machine table, and the wall to the left of that houses my fabric stash on shelves.  The fiberglass ceiling panels landed against the design wall, so that needed to be replaced, as well.  The pipe was repaired on Wednesday, and I've replaced the plastic over the light, and the other tiles, as well as the design wall.  The towels have been washed, and other damaged things have been discarded.  But the colder temperatures have made it difficult to work down there.  The floor was just too cold. 

On top of this, I've also been going to Scranton, to Northeastern Eye Institute, to get fitted for the Scleral lens that will correct my vision in my left eye.  After the cornea transplant in January of 2014, I needed to wait to get the lens.  It's time, and so far the one I'm using is great.  I should be able to get 20/25 vision with the lens.  Dr. Shovlin is great about the fit, comfort, and vision, and hopefully the next trial lens will be the one.  He's not happy with the fit of this one.  I'm able to wear the lens all day, and I'm thrilled that I can see so much better.  I do know my quilting has improved, too, now that I can see.  My vision before was about 20/400 in that eye (basically, blind, since August of 2013) and the right eye has a different lens, an RGP, that is corrected to 20/25.  I've had keratoconus for about 20 years, and this is the first time in more than 10 years that I've felt comfortable driving at night.  I can't wait to go to the movies and enjoy seeing the screen, and doing so many other things I haven't enjoyed for so long.   What a difference this new cornea and the Scleral lens has made!  

Today, I'm enjoying the sound of melting snow and icicles, the gorgeous blue skies, and pretty clouds, and hoping for a few more days of warmth, although we've had snow flurries a few times today.  

Hazel just wants to catch her frisbee, though.  She's in the loft, waiting for me to toss it..  

Thanks for visiting!