TGIFF: Another Minky Baby Quilt Done!

What a joy it is to give the gift of a quilt! Even if it is 6 months late and to a little one who doesn’t quite understand that he’s getting a gift made with love and sweat and tears. Even with all of that, it’s still a wonderful moment to gift to someone a quilt you’ve made with them in mind.

I was blessed with two nephews in one year. They are two months apart and both are the sweetest things. I adore them both and enjoy being their Aunty Keki.

For their first birthdays I decided to make them a minky quilt each. For Logan, I made a grey and neutral colored quilt with zoo animals and it matched his crib and decor perfectly. After working with minky on that quilt, I grew more confident and knew that I could make Watson one, too!

And I got lucky! I found this great off-the-bolt fabric in colors that matches Watson’s nursery with nautical animals. He’s all about that narwhal.

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With minky and fabric in hand, I put together this little baby quilt but ran into some technical problems. My machine was struggling with the minky this time around, something it didn’t do with the first minky quilt. I ended up taking it in to be services and that slightly solved the problems.

In the end, I got through it with a simple wavy line quilting pattern and I ended with some hand binding. I do like to attach the minky binding to the back and hand stitch to the front because it gives it a nice, cozy edge to the whole thing. And for a little guy I wants as much cozy as possible!

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Well, it finally happened (6 months late…) The quilt is finished and Watson now has his own Aunty Keki quilt of his own.

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Even though quilting on minky is kind of a pain in the tush, it looks great and just blends in nicely. And I love that minky binding. It may seem crazy to bind in such a thick fabric but it looks great when finished.

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And the little man loved it too!IMG_1613

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TGIFF: Noodle’s Baby Quilt!

Not too long ago I finished a small baby quilt for my nephew, Noodle. No, he’s not actually named Noodle but that’s pretty much what I call him 100% of the time! It was a cute little nickname that stuck and now he is forever my Noodle!

He turned 1 in February and I had a baby quilt already started that I thought would be perfect for him. It’s original owner had already outgrown this fabric and when Noodle came around in 2017 I knew it would be perfect for him. Not only is is small enough for him to carry with him but it matches his nursery room color scheme and it’s made of soft minky that he can snuggle with.

It was pretty much done when I decided to gift it to him. All I had to do was quilt it down and bind it. I made the choice to use minky as my backing fabric even though I had never worked with it. I had heard so much about minky being a difficult fabric to work with that I was a bit gun shy so it sat in a corner for quite some time. Then I received Noodle’s birthday invitation and that meant I needed to get over my fears and concerns and just finish it!

So I chose a simple wavy line/meander for the quilting. I did one set in a light grey and then went back over it with a darker grey. The quilting kind of reminds me of flames with the way the tips of the quilting came to a stopping point before I turned it back around to quilt to the other side.

Because I quilted with the minky against the machine, it sailed smoothly under my free motion foot and I found it super easy to just go. It does make quite the mess but in the end, the outcome was worth all the fuzz I endured! I also made it my goal to stop as little as I could manage so that I had less stitches to bury.

Ignoring the laundry I so badly needed to finish (real life photo right there), I decided to hand bind the quilt with more minky. Boy was it bulky! But the overall look was worth every curse word uttered while binding it.

And here it is! The comfy, cozy, fuzzy baby quilt for my little Noodle!

It’s not perfect but I wasn’t aiming for perfect. I just wanted something adorable and cozy for him to drag along behind him through his baby years.

The quilting is simple yet really attractive against the different patterns in the fabric. The polka dotted squares blend well with the bumps in the minky.

It’s warm and soft, perfect for a little guy who likes to explore and touch things, curious about how things feel.

I made 9 patch blocks and then cut into them and matched them up before putting them back together. I actually posed a question to other quilters about what I should do for the borders. It was overwhelmingly expressed that I could leave it just as it is, all unsymmetrical. It wasn’t easy; I may not be a pattern follower but I love a good symmetry to my quilts. In the end, the suggestions were heard and I left it as it was, all unbalanced.

And even though it was a pain to bind with minky due to the extra bulky and the slip, I think that the binding really ties it together and makes this already comfy quilt even more inviting to cuddle with!

Happy Birthday my little Noodle!

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Carol’s Zoo “Ewok” Bear

Hahaha!  This teddy bear pattern from Carol Cruise of Carol’s Zoo is actually called “Carol’s Bearrit”.  The luxury fur I chose, however, made it look like a cuddly “Ewok”instead!


I glued the two pattern pieces to a sturdy piece of lightweight cardboard, then cut the pieces out. I knew I would want to make more than one bear, and I did this to extend the life of the pattern. (Quilting template plastic can be used too.) Working from the back of the fur, I traced around the pattern with a sharpie, transferring all of the markings. I also chose to use a hole punch for the circle markings, so I could just color them in on the back of the fabric.


When working with fur, this next step is important. Using sharp embroidery scissors, I made sure to cut the backing and not the fur by sliding the scissor points in, skimming the backing, and then cutting on the outside of the marked line.  After cutting, I gently pulled apart the pieces, keeping the fur intact.

When I pinned the pieces together, I used long quilting pins, about 1/4″ apart, tucking in the fur as I went. I used a 90/14 needle, and a longer 3.0 stitch when sewing the 1/4″ seams.  I kept an aluminum knitting needle beside me to help keep errant fur tucked into the seam while I sewed.  After turning the bear right side out, I stuffed it with high quality plush fiber fill, then hand sewed the back opening with a strong ladder stitch.

Voila!


Because my hubby helped me get the quilting done so quickly on the Whale Baby Quilt, I was able to get this adorable bear done in time to give it as an added gift to my Daughter-In-Law at her shower.  Yay for team Nona and Papa!

Have a fabulous weekend my friends!

Hugs,
DoriSignature

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Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts

Hobbies Up To Here Episode #8

Crafters, we’re back!! And we’ve got another episode of Hobbies Up To Here!

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This week we talk about FITNESS!!

Both of us have agreed that we want to be healthier! The plan is to be accountable to ourselves but also to check in with each other and discuss any ups or downs that come along with a change in lifestyle.

We also talk about some other hobbies we have like my love for makeup and Dori’s passion for photography. Below are some photos she took as a gig photographer.

The Silent Comedy at the Viper Room Pictured: Timothy Graves, Joshua Zimmerman, Jeremiah Zimmerman Full res

The Silent Comedy at the Viper Room
Pictured: Timothy Graves, Joshua Zimmerman, Jeremiah Zimmerman


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Dave Plesh of Run Devil Run at the Roxy ’11


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David Rosales of Silent Treatment at the House of Blues in Anaheim


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Jake playing soccer!


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Dellacoma Rio of Australia’s Sunset Riot


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Jackie Joyride, Nikki Sixx, Jeremy Aric and Dave Plesh at the Viper Room Media Lounge during the Sunset Strip Music Festival in 2010


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John Baumgartner of Xyzyx at the Roxy


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The Count of Monte Cristo performance at the Maverick Theater in Fullerton


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Promo shoot with David Rosales 4-8-15


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Even though we discuss our other hobbies in this episode, we do have a finished project to share! My table runner is done! And was gifted this weekend to my in-laws. You can check out the post from Friday here.

My mom took these pictures for me to showcase her photography.

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Hope you enjoyed listening!

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Hobbies Up To Here

WIP: July 4th Table Runner

During the Southern California Quilter’s Run, I picked up a little kit to make a table runner. At first I pretty much thought I was nuts. Not only would I have to follow a pattern to make the blocks in it but I would also have to measure and follow the instructions to make this thing come together.

BLACH!

I hate following directions when it comes to crafts! Mostly because it makes me feel like I’m not free to be creative and that is what I love most about making things, the freedom I feel to create anything I dream up.

So I was tentative to pick this up but it was really cute and I knew someone who would enjoy a 4th of July table runner. In the end the cute colors and the simplicity of the runner called to me so I bought it and set out to make it before the 4th.

My in-laws host a HUGE 4th BBQ every year and I’ve been going for 5 years now so I wanted to surprise them with a little decorative gift for their big parties.


My first two blocks came together super easy but my third one decided to be a pain in the butt. I couldn’t get things to line up and I was working on being as exact as I could be. I measured and pressed and even used some fabric starch made JUST for quilting.

In the end the three came together nicely and it was time to cut the rest of the fabric. 

And then I blew it! I somehow mis-cut my gingham fabric. The pattern called for two large swatches to be placed in between so that there was a block at each end and one in the middle. I swear I was paying attention but cut it about 1/2 an in short making the fabric unusable in that state. So, I improvised.

Or went “rogue” as I told my mom by text message. I left the fabric as it was but instead made smaller swatches at the ends and then made two bigger swatches between the blocks.

I think it came out handsomely!   
Picking the backing fabric was tougher than expected and I went back and forth over what to use. The border fabric, while adorable, turned out to be my black sheep fabric. It stuck out and made matching anything to it super rough.

So I went with a white fabric dotted with blue and red stars. It fits in and was only the back so the top and back won’t be seen together regularly.

Then came the quilting!!! DUH DUH DUUUUNNNNNN!!!

I’ve been waiting for a project to finish for awhile now so I could jump in and so my first free-motion project. I picked a multicolored thread that had a red/white/blue theme to it and set to make a swirly pattern just for simplicity.

I took off with confidence and quickly found it to be HARDER than I expected. I had practiced on smaller pieces and was able to make a systematic swirl I was happy with but suddenly, with knowing this would be given as a gift, my nerves got the better of me and I realized I need more practice!

In the end the product I came out with was satisfactory. My stitches are nearly uniform enough but good enough to give the overall appearance of  something made with love.

For my first attempt I’d say this is pretty decent!!!

Now to bind! I haven’t decided how I want to do this, whether entirely by machine or by both machine/hand. With three days left I can do either, especially with my son being gone and having some time to myself.

  
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Sew Fresh Quilts

CraftyAllie

Fifth Quilt: The Peaceful Planet

On August 12th I started the Peaceful Planet Quilt with the intention of giving it as a gift to my niece for her birthday. She was to visit from Washington as a birthday gift from her mom and my plan was to have it done by then.

Everything came together pretty smoothly. I used a simple jelly-roll to sew together all the strips and made a long quilt top with simple borders and a yellow binding. The colors were all green and blue and soft with a very serene nature theme to it.

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I ALMOST made my goal! I was super close to finishing it when she arrived for her visit, then I hit a snag. I was using a needle that wasn’t conducive to sewing through so many layers. This was something I had no clue about! But Lisa over at Lisa in Port Hope popped by and left me a wonderful comment and a link to give me some insight into needles. I had NO CLUE about needle size and the different types! Talk about learning something new everyday, this was news to me.

I ended up finishing my quilt binding with whatever needle I had left and just took it slow to make sure I didn’t snap this one because I have no others left. And you can bet your sweet tushies that I’ll be buying new ones but this time with more information and knowledge about the types of needles I need!

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This quilt got finished up pretty late in the evening but I can’t express how happy I was to have it done and in record time! This one was finished in 3 weeks, rather than 3 months. Or even 3 years! I tend to let projects languish and hang around while I move onto other things. Because this blanket was meant as a gift and I’ve been on a kick with the finishing of things, I really had the spark to get things done.

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I’m super excited to send this gift up to Spokane to my sweet niece who got to see the almost finished project and loved it even then. It couldn’t go to a more loving and sweet girl! And I told her, when things get tough, she can wrap herself up in it and think peaceful thoughts and remember her trip to California!

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The finished product!

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Ok so now to think over this whole process and find a few good points and some learning points.

The good:

  • Sticking with a project from beginning to completion and finishing in record time.
  • The quilt top itself is beautiful and the colors are well organized.
  • Love the color combination of the light blues and greens bordered by the darker star fabric and bound with the clean yellow.
  • The forethought of making extra binding which saved me time.
  • Sticking with a simple top and not trying to get all fancy.
  • Taking my time, not rushing through the steps, and not jumping ahead.
  • PRESSING! I really did make it a point to press the seams opens and to take the time to press in between steps.

The Bad:

  • Basting. I need to improve this area because I rush through it and then things get all wonky.
  • Measuring. I still skip this step in places and that caused some unsightly issues with the back of the quilt.
  • Using the correct needle size! This is new to me and now that I have some stuff to read about it, I’m going to bone up and learn how to choose my needles.
  • Alignment. Instead of aligning the strips from the center and then squaring things off, I lined up one side and the whole thing kinda went crooked. If I had lined up the strips from the centers and pieced them together, I think I would have had a straight top.
  • Quilting. I didn’t do enough to anchor the layers together. Next time I’ll make more of a effort to tie down or quilt the top better.
  • Binding. This is still an issue for me. It’s so 50/50. Sometimes it goes well and I adore my mitered corners, and other times I suck at it. This time? It sucked!


Crazy Mom Quilts

WIP: And Now We Bind

This weekend we had some out of town guests from Washington State. The house was in a major state of disarray as we bumbled along making room for two more bodies in our little condo. One of our guests was my niece who turned 10 just the week before. This trip to California was her gift and we were excited to have her.

I was super excited because the Peaceful Planet quilt was for her! And the whole thing was coming together smoothly, until last Wednesday when I put the layers together and the whole things went wonky. Not only that but my camera broke too. I made it work anyways and promised myself to finish it in time for her to take it home.

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While I was fighting with the damn layers, I was pleased to find that I had enough binding and wouldn’t have to make more! I can’t explain how much this made my day! Not that binding is a pain to make but it was one step I wouldn’t have to take because it was already done. And from what I could tell, the colors were going to work out really well.

That was Wednesday and as of today I’m stuck. Yes stuck. As I worked on the binding and started to wrap up this monstrous quilt (my first full sized quilt) I broke my needle! The damn thing just snapped! So I rooted around and found a few machine needles and popped one in. Within a few minutes that needle had an issue too! I couldn’t figure out why my machine was hitching up so badly until I looked closely at the very tip of the needle and found that it was bent at an angle! Just the very tip of the needle had bent, nothing else was wrong with it but it was catching the fabric as it went through the layers. What a bummer!

So that was needle #2. I moved onto #3 and crossed my finger that it would be the last one and then this thing would be finished because my niece and son were about to go to bed and I wanted to gift it to her. NOPE! I used that needle for a bit until SNAP!!! It broke, too.

I have a feeling it’s due to the weight of the whole blanket pulling against the needle and just snapping it right off. I’m down to one needle left but I think I’ll need to stock up on more if I want this thing finished.

Sadly, my niece left Monday and without the blanket. I did present it to her and explained to my sister-in-law the issue I had but I promised to finish it soon and to send it to her ASAP! She seemed thrilled to be getting her own blanket and I can’t wait to wrap this project up, pack it into a box and ship it off to her.

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WIP: So Close!!!

First I want to apologize for the HORRIBLE picture quality! My Canon broke the other day and I’m stuck with using either my old Canon (which I gave to my son to play with so it’s not in great shape) or using my phone. My phone’s camera isn’t bad but it’s not how I want to get my pictures done. BOOOO!! And I’m not really ready to drop a lot of moola on a new one. But I will have to soon because I use it not only for the blog but also when we do trips and we have a camping trip coming up in a week. Ugh…
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Anywho, I got down to business last night and started wrapping up my Peaceful Planet quilt. I had to take over my son’s room because he has the most floor space and this thing feels HUGE! It’s only a twin sized quilt but this is the biggest project I’ve ever worked on so I’m a bit amazed and a teeny bit overwhelmed with the size of it all. Using his floor I laid out the back, the batting, and the top. I tried to lay it out as smoothly as possible but my sewing leaves something to be desired. I’m crossing my fingers that over time my sewing will improve and my quilt tops will be better for it!

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Snip snip!

After everything was lined up as best I could, I took the whole shebang back to my room and spread it out on the bed. We’ve got a Cal-King in there so it was a bit easier on my back to lean over that instead of kneeling on the floor. My husband is such a sweetheart. He could tell I was struggling with it lining up so he jumped in and took over the other end of the quilt and helped me out. That little extra tug from him totally made a difference. Now things were all ready for my machine!

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I swear my lighting is MUCH better than this!

I set out to stitch in the ditch around the border with a nice dark blue thread to seal the layers together. I’m kinda on a time crunch. This is a gift and the receiver is arriving tomorrow from Washington State so I’m hoping to be able to gift it in person rather than ship it via the USPS! So I kept it simple and just ran my little Kenmore around the edges. I swear, poor ol’ Shelby was smokin’ by the time I was done!

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Stupid flash!

After it was all sewn together I went back to my bed and laid it out flat again. It didn’t come out too bad! But I did have one corner where the material had shifted so it puckered up. I could have left it but I knew it would bug me forever if I did so I ripped out an entire seam (luckily along one of the shorter sides) and stitched it back up. Once again I trekked to the bed to lay it out and I saw an area where I could make another improvement. When I picked up the seam ripper to fix it, my husband implored that I held off and went to bed. He was right. I could pick the whole thing apart if I allowed myself to think on it so instead I went to bed to sleep on it, promising to fix everything tomorrow. All I have left to do today is fix that one seam and then attach the binding! In preparation for that step, I bought extra yellow material in case my binding turns out to be too short.
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On the side I pulled one of my UFO/WIPs from last week’s post and got some work done on it, too. This Forgotten Project would have been finished if I hadn’t lost the instructions. BOOOO!!! But I got two squares ripped apart and then sewn back together nicely and attached to the nice dark chocolate brown solid squares where the pears are meant to go. And I say “meant to go” because the instructions are no longer on the internet either. The site hosting it is long gone so I have no template for my pears. Grrr…

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Also, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get my other squares to line up right and ended up with smaller dimensions than my originals. These things just won’t cut it! So I’m debating just chucking it all in, layering and binding what I have done and calling it a night! I’m good with that!

 photo wip_zpsbbf761bc.jpgSew Fresh Quilts

Side Stitches: Done In A Day

This post should be called “The Seam Ripper: My Best Friend”. I’ve never used a seam ripper as much in one project as I did today. At least we are close buddies now.

I was asked for my artistic opinion from someone the other day. When they asked, it was for a simple project, just to get some idea how to display something. Well, I highly doubt they knew what they were getting into when they asked me, Mrs. I’m-Addicted-To-Quilting.

What started out as a simple project worked itself into two quilt square.

But, they were simple and easy to assemble. I cut one day and quilted the next. Then BOOM! I was done.

Simple and elegant.

The center square is a simple cream with gold flecks, just right to match the other fabrics with the golden stars and spots.

As you can tell, there is a theme which ties into the secret second half of the project. A secret I can’t divulge just yet.

Today I’ll hand these over to the secret patron who asked for my simple opinion.

I hope they don’t mind that I took some liberties and kinda went a different direction.

Urg, I can see some puckering of the center square. I’m wondering if my tension is not right and causing it to do that.

Per usual, I have my complaints. My cutting was off (only I could really tell) and my sewing required more than one seam to be ripped and restitched. Because it’s a gift and not being used as a quilt but to be displayed, I really wanted/needed the seams to align as best as possible so I could just leave it as I have for past quilts.