TGIFF: The Beatles Quilt

Each time I’ve completed a quilt, I go through a myriad of feelings.  Joy, excitement, sadness and accomplishment.  All this and soooo much more filled my heart when I put the last stitch in the binding of The Beatles Quilt, a.k.a. “Blackbird”.

It’s taken two years to complete, and it’s been worth every single second!  I wrote about it’s progress in WIP Wednesday: The “Revolution” Beatles Quilt, and Katie and I talked about it on our podcast called Blackbird Quilt Episode #81.   As you might have guessed, this quilt has gone through a few name changes, and though he has settled on “Blackbird”, I’m not writing that title in cement lol!

Though Reg had wanted to hand quilt this piece on his own, he decided to turn it over to the very creative and capable hands of our longarmer, Karen Kimmel of Long Beach, CA. She did an amazing job, and worked hard to translate Reg’s vision into reality. To say she succeeded in spades, is an understatement!  (The video below is Reg’s reaction after getting his quilt back from Karen!)

It still boggles my mind to think that my hubby started with his coveted White Album inspired guitar strap, and ended up with an original, one-of-a-kind quilt!

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He started with these images…

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…and ended up with THIS!

I’m looking forward to partnering with my husband again on yet another musically inspired quilt. Maybe the Foo Fighters? Jimi Hendricks? How about The Who?!? These and so many more names have been discussed in the past couple of months as “Blackbird” was getting closer to being finished.

I can’t wait!

Hugs,

Dori

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Blackbird Quilt Episode #81

Welcome back to Hobbies Up To Here!!
In this episode we sit down and share the life and process of The Beatles quilt! It’s gone by many names (all Beatles titles) and it’s currently being called The Blackbird Quilt. No matter how it has been known, it’s now got a reputation that precedes it. And rightfully so! The quilt is a project thought up by my dad and with the help of my mom and many other friends, has been brought to life!

For more pictures and details on the Blackbird Quilt, make sure to head over to our Instagram page where all of our pictures in progress have been posted!

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Frankie Baby!

To say that my husband is proud of his very first fully completed quilting project is an understatement!  From start to finish, he did everything…choosing the pattern, the fabrics, the hand embroidery, the appliqué process, the quilting, the binding and sewing on the buttons.  ALL OF IT!  And I’m sure you’ll agree it’s not only adorable but it’s also fabulously executed!

This is the pattern that Reg chose.  Isn’t that button pack cute!?

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Using the light box he made for me, Reg traced all the appliqué shapes carefully on Wonder-Under, which I had on hand.  There were soooo many pieces lol!  Then he fused the pieces to well chosen fabrics that he felt Frank would be stylin’ in.

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Choosing a light green fabric for Frank’s skin tone, was a no-brainer.  Reg insisted Frank’s pallor was important!

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Here’s where Reg’s vision really came into play.  He wasn’t satisfied with the pattern’s suggestion for a background.  So, while on the So. Cal. Quilters Run, we kept a look out for some sort of Halloween fabric that would suffice.  We found a beautiful panel that made all the difference, and helped Frank to look like he was almost three dimensional.

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Though Reg has needlepoint experience, he’d never done embroidery before.  He chose to do a simple backstitch with black embroidery thread.  He even learned how to bury threads between the layers!

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Reg has always been a bit wary of my sewing machine.  But, determined to do this all on his own, he allowed me to teach him how to use a buttonhole stitch to anchor the raw edged appliqué pieces.  He first tweaked the stitch a bit to his liking, then setting the speed to low, patiently stitched every curve and difficult point.  Then he switched gears and quilted around the tree branches and the haunted house.

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He’s definitely a “go big or go home” kinda guy.  When stitching the handle on Frank’s treat bag, he chose this bright silk ribbon.  Now…have you noticed something different about this and the last photo?  The fussy cut spider treat bag is different, yes?  Welllll….that’s because Reg wasn’t happy with the first go at Frank.  So he made a completely NEW one!  There were a couple of things that he did differently, but he’s much happier with how the second wallhanging came out.

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Ta Da!  And here he is, all ready to go trick-or-treating!

That FACE!!!

The bag is perfect!

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I’m not a natural teacher.  Trying to translate skills that I’ve practiced for more than forty-five years was daunting for me.  I take them for granted, and with Reg being a complete beginner, I needed to remember to include the absolute basics.  He patiently listened and learned quickly.  At times, he even questioned my methods! Being quite open minded and the type who thinks outside the box, he often implemented his own ideas on how he wanted to proceed.  Trust me, I had to let go of my pride and ego to allow him to experiment and do his own thing!

Are you gearing up for the Halloween season?  How so?  Do you create and add to your collection every year?

We’d love to hear!

Dori

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We’ve Got Updates and Progress! Episode #77

Welcome back hobbyists and crafters! Today we update you on some of our current projects and the process we are making on a lot of our quilts and stitching.


My dad has made MAJOR progress with his Frank wall hanging. This is the second one after he ran into some issues with the first.

Mom’s failure is fertilizer quilt top is done and she’s using the smaller one to practice her free motion quilting. This weekend she’s picking up some backing fabric to finish this quilt for my sister in law.

Dori pulled out her Cat in the Garden appliqué project and wanted to get it finished except some important numbers are missing for the borders!

But we have a few resources we can use to get the measurements for the borders.

Her new stitching project is really coming along and she’s enjoying the process!

I’ve got a bunch of blocks done for my Puzzle Box quilt and it’s piecing together nicely.

And I’ve attached the binding to the friendship quilt so I’m nearing the end of this two year project!!

It went on smoothly to the back and I plan to hand bind the rest! Almost done!

And I got the good word that I’m in class with Libs Elliott to make her Watcher Skull quilt at QuiltCon 2018!!!

Now we’re just waiting and hoping that another spot opens up for my mom!

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Let’s Get Motivated Episode #75

Sometimes you need a friend and some good ol’ fashioned inspiration to find your quilting motivation!

Through friendship and inspiration, we’ve really found our quilting mojo. Not that it was lost but it definitely took a backseat to a few of our other hobbies.

We officially finished our So Cal Quilt Run passports!!! Every square received a stamp and we turned them in to be included in the grand prize drawing for a new machine! YAY!

I’ve been cracking away at my puzzle box quilt! I cranked out 15 blocks so far this week!

The unquilting is finally complete!! And it’s all thanks to my mom and her diligent seam ripping.

Frank is really coming together and my dad is enjoying every step in the process of putting this little guy together. Doesn’t he look snazzy?

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When Good Crafts Go Bad Episode #61

Sometimes crafts go well. And sometimes…sometimes…the crafts go bad!

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We both had some pretty frustrating moments with some of our hobbies and crafts this week. Between my mom’s fabric just not piecing together properly and my cake falling apart before I could decorate it, we seemed to have the universe against us!

But we’ve learned a lot in all the years of crafting we have behind us. Neither of us gave up but instead worked through the issues and continued to complete our projects.

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Growing Up QAL Block 1

This year for 2017 I’ve join a QAL (quilt along) or two from around the web. Now, my past experience with QAL’s has not been so great. I tend to lose interest or get so busy that I fall behind easily or I find myself in a QAL  and learn that I’m not interested in the type of blocks being made and thusly drop out.

This would be my reasoning for leaving behind the Splendid Sampler QAL. I learned through that one that I’m not fond of small blocks. Too fussy for me. And it makes sense, I’m not a fan of  patterns and following direct instructions so not only doing what I already don’t like PLUS making super tiny squares wore thin quickly.

But I’m not a complete quitter. I do intend on making it through a QAL at some point so I joined up with Alida from Alida (TweLoQ) Designs for her Growing Up QAL. Now these blocks are MUCH bigger (12 inches, yes!) and there is only one a month which is more manageable for me (at least I thought so). And I’ve already completed the first block which was an appliqué rose or heart.

My goal this year is to dive into my stash and only work with fabric I have on hand. I’m trying NOT to buy anything new. I had made a block the night before in some red/white/black combo that I love so I decided to stick with this. Because both QALs are the same sized finished blocks, maybe I can piece them altogether in the end and make a big sampler for me.
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So I went with a tiny red pattern and a cream background. The appliqué kind of intimidated me because I instantly saw the cuts and corners and felt that strain of “Ugh, too fussy”. But it was beautiful so I cut it out and pressed it on. I chose to machine stitch it down with a dark crimson Aurifil thread that matched the small crimson pattern on the flower.

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It was a bit stressful managing those corners and as long as you don’t stare too closely, you don’t notice when I went off roading a few times (just a few).

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It’s now complete and hanging out on my design wall with my other blocks.

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But I do have quite the mess to clean up. I can never do anything simply. I alway shave to get in there and just Tasmanian devil the place.

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And thankfully I had some gift cards because I didn’t have any fusible webbing to trace and iron on my design. With our weekends being so busy I had no time to pop out and grab what I needed till this weekend when we had no weddings, baby showers, or soccer games.

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The Splendid Sampler: Block 1 Hearts Aflutter

I had a crazy thought for 2016: I would seek out ways to improve my quilting/sewing skills. I mean, I have already job, a home to run, a 10 year old to get to and from football/soccer/theater/music lessons on any given day, not to mention my own visits to the gym and other social engagements we have as a family. So, my dance card is pretty full.

Like I said…crazy, I say. CRAZY!

I’ve never claimed to be super smart but it should come as no shock that I went ahead and joined a HUGE sew-along that promises 2 block patterns a week, 100 blocks total, and for a whole year.

Did I mention I am a bit crazy?!

Well you heard me right. I’ve joined up with many, many quilters from beginners to seasoned veterans to follow along with Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson’s Splendid Sampler sew along.

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Every Sunday and Thursday a new block is posted as you are allowed to do as you please. Use something from your stash to build the block or buy fabric as you see fit. Do the whole project in one night or spread it out over days. Collect them all and finish at your leisure. It’s up to you!

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The first block was posted Sunday, Valentine’s day, and it was appropriately a heart shaped appliqué on a simple four square background block with different corner fabrics. I was thrilled to see a fairly simple block was I was worried that I would not be able to keep up if the blocks were way outside my comfort zone.

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I originally went with a cream and maroon/wine colored mix and some stripes. I was really draw to this set of fabrics but I actually planned ensuing my Dragonfly Summer set by Holly Taylor. You can check out my Periscope broadcast where I show off my fabric choices that ended up getting ditched…

Not long after I set my mind on my fabrics, I found a fat quarter set in our stash I HAD to use.

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Hello, Little Black Dress 2!!! How beautiful are you!?! I love this French, shabby chic look and decided to ditch my original block and start over.

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But first, lemme show off my beautiful center points. Look how precise those are!!! Amazing, am I right!?

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I kept the original plan for the block (cream and maroon/wine) and left my appliqué heart as it was but decided to do my corners over again, this time using  a complementary fabric from Little Black Dress 2.

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A few things I did differently with the idea that I’m here to learn so to learn I must do things I normally wouldn’t.

  1. I used pins. YES, I pinned!
  2. I pressed my seams open.
  3. I also used a fabric pencil to mark my corners so I could get the most accurate angle possible.
  4. I also trimmed my block once it was done so that it was squared up the moment it was completed.
  5. I also (hold on for it) PRACTICED! Yes, I did a few practice runs with the appliquéing before hitting the official block.

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When it came time to appliqué, I went round and round on how I was going to machine stitch this down. I tried a few decorative stitches and none hit me with a WOW feeling. I also played with colors and while I wanted to use black to frame the heart (my favorite color to appliqué with) I ended up finding a shiny red thread that worked well with my color scheme. I stuck with a stitch I knew and went for it.

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And voila!! My first block is done! Now to wait impatiently for the second block pattern to arrive to my email box!!

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Hobbies Up To Here Episode #25

We’re back!!!!
Happy New Year!!!

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Our first 2016 podcast is up and ready for you to listen.

Dori is headed off to Road to California next week and next month is QuiltCon 2016! We’ll be there with bells on!!!

Today we shared some updates and then talked about persevering through a project that doesn’t seem to want to go right!

What do you do when you get stuck on a project but are determined to make it through?

We’ve had a few great suggestions during a Periscope broadcast to take it a step at a time and celebrate the little things and also to step back and make something else that will give the instant feeling of success.

And if you ever get stuck in a rut, you can always check out this video on my 5 tips for getting out of your creative funk.

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Something New: Dresden Plate Piecing WIP

A few months ago, my mom discovered Pinterest. I had already been working on building my boards and pinning anything and everything I found interesting. Slowly but surely, she did the same.

Then something interesting started happening. We have a board together for quilting and anytime I posted something to read later on (I use Pinterest more as a reminder to read things than a place I post realistically), a day or two later I’d find out that my mom had read the same pin and bought all the instruments/fabric needed to create whatever I had shared.

It’s now become a running joke. If I like something, like a fat quarter set, or if I want to try something ,like this Dresden plate pattern from this site, The Stitching Scientist, all I have to do is pin it and BAM! Like Santa delivering gifts in his sleigh, my mom will have it purchased and delivered before I can say “Please”!

Here is the first string of blades. Isn’t this fabric darling? My mom started out with her first Dresden plate using an adorable Riley Blake Design kit for a baby girl. I didn’t even know she was interested in making one when all the sudden I was receiving text messages showing her progress.

Holy smokes was she fast!!!

Before long she had TWO made!

She then began designing a simple wall hanging/lap quilt that will be bordered with the same fabrics as the Dresden plates. The plates will be appliquéd into the corners of a beautiful clean Kona white center piece.

Even her hand turned appliqué on this center circle is perfect! I’m jealous of her handy work and how far it’s come!

As she began the borders, she did find herself in a pickle. The directions in the pattern weren’t as clear as she wanted them to be. Now, in the past, my mom would have allowed this to deter her from finishing. Instead, the growth in her new skills show in her new abilities to work through a problem and solve any issues by stepping outside the box!

So cute! Love this set of fabrics!

Once I saw what she was able to make and how simple she made it sound, I decided to try it out myself. Using the Joyeux Noel set we bought from Moda, I set to work on my first Dresden plate. And she was right!! It was very simple to piece together.

My biggest issue was the hand piecing in the center. It didn’t go together as nicely as I wanted it to look but overall the process is one I’d like to attempt again.

I chose a simple echoing straight stitch from the edge of the Dresden out. It gave it a beautiful star-like look that radiants from the center. It even comes off as a little art deco, an architectural style I adore!

My only problem with the quilting: first, I should have used a red thread in the bobbin. And secondly, I’m still struggling with the back of my quilted projects looking clean. There was a lot of sniping and clean up to be done once I was finished.

I did a simple straight stitch in the plates, around the center piece, and echoing out to the border. Then I framed it all with a simple box around.

Voila!

Today I picked up some red thread to bind the whole thing together. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do, whether I’ll hand stitch or if I’ll do a decorative blanket stitch, but I’m ready to wrap this project up so it can hang proudly on my wall!

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