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: My Circa Quilt

This past week and I was able to sit down and wrap up another quilt! My Circa quilt was started in May of 2015. I used a Missouri Star Quilt Co. tutorial on their YouTube channel called the Double Sliced Layer Cake. It was a really simple pattern and made for a really dynamic top.

The Circa layer cake has a really vintage feel to it with the muted colors and the pops of red. So I chose to frame this top with off-white and black to give it a clean finish.

I’m super excited about this quilt because it’s MINE! The first one I’ve made just for me. It’s what I would look like if I was a quilt!

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I used an Aurifil red thread* to quilt the top in a geometric pattern of boxes. It’s a very tightly quilted top so when washed, it scrunches up really nicely.

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I matched the red in the quilt with a red backing framed again by black. Right before I started binding, I did run a quick black straight stitch throughout the border to tack it down.

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Now it’s been washed and dried and has the cozy, cuddly look. I still have some threads to bury (as is evidence in the above photo). This quilting pattern took A LOT of thread so there was a lot of stopping and starting. I need to get out my Sench needles to finish up that last step for this beauty.

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TGIFF: The Marvel Quilt

It’s official, my friends. Jake’s Marvel quilt is done! I had been working on this project for 3 years and my son had lately been asking kindly when it would be finished. He wanted a quilt he could use while he could still fit under it.

I’ve been about 85% of the way done for a few weeks with only the last bits of quilting to be done. I started the quilting a little off centered (totally meant to do that….) and I did a simple straight line in a the shape of a square to quilt it down. I used my walking foot and just kept it simple. Due to the off-centering of my square (that I MEANT to do….), I had to improvise as I came around to that last bit of quilting.

But I ran into a few problems that I just couldn’t see my way through.

Then my friend came over for a quilting date and she really helped me solve the issues I was having with the project. She helped me find solutions that got me out of the corner I had backed myself into. I helped me get excited as the light at the end of the tunnel suddenly became brighter.

So I used the motivation from my friend’s visit to get the work done. I squared it up, trimmed the excess, and proceeded to make the binding from the left over backing fabric. I figured this WOW, POW, WOOZE fabric would tie it all together nicely.

I made MORE than enough binding, just in case….IMG_3218

Click here to visit Amazon* for your own Mary Ellen’s Best Press.

Then I sat down and attached it. All the quilting was done in red thread so I continued to use it on the binding. I figured if I messed up anything, it wouldn’t stand out so much when the thread is all the same color.

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Normally I hand bind but it’s been hellishly hot and having that much fabric draped over me was uncomfortable enough so I decided to bind with my machine instead. It worked out fine and got the job done fast.

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As quickly as the dream had come to me for this block, suddenly I was done! I don’t know what was holding me back for so long because once I got it in me to finish, it just rolled around and was done!

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So the problem I had was with the backing. My solid blue fabric was was just NOT big enough and after many trips to the store to buy more fabric and MORE FABRIC every time I ran out of something, I did not want to go back! So using what I had, I made panels on the sides to frame the blue backing. But that made the backing too BIG! It was a battle I was losing.

The decision then was to trim it down to a single panel on one side and leave it. But as I started to quilt, I realized a bottom square was starting to unravel. I couldn’t leave it and quilting it wouldn’t be enough to hold it together so I decided to take it out and replace it with another block that was holding together much better. But that decision made a mess of the bottom row and caused it to shift. Now my backing wasn’t lining up and trimming it would mean losing some of the borders…..GAH!!!!

It was my friend’s eye that helped me. She suggested I just take that same “word” fabric (WOW,  POW, WOOZE) and add a strip to the bottom at the back so that it lined up. And it worked perfectly!

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What can I say! My son loves his quilt! He’s already slept with it a few nights and he’s excited for it to soften up with use.

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And I can proudly say that I officially made him a quilt long before he out grew it! YAY!!

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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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TGIFF: The Curved Log Cabin

To be honest, I’ve never been a fan of yellow.  It just doesn’t appeal to me, or hadn’t appealed to me until I made this beautiful Curved Log Cabin quilt for my daughter Jennifer.

I got the pattern from a Missouri Star Quilt Company tutorial.  Trust me, I’ll be making this quilt top again and again!  It was fun and easy.  I have a few jelly rolls that are just begging to be made into another Curved Log Cabin configuration.

I chose a 2 1/2″ jelly roll of Summer Breeze lll fabrics by Moda.  The blues and yellows in various florals, made for wonderful contrasts that helped to define the curve in the log cabin blocks.  The key, however, is the use of a white jelly roll in 1 1/2″ strips.

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Aren’t they fabulous?

I love the variations of yellows and blues!

Using one of the Summer Breeze strips as a center for the Log Cabin block instead of the traditional red or green, caused me to come up a bit short of fabric choices.  I ended up buying a second jelly roll.  No worries!  I used strips from the second roll to bind the quilt.  It worked out well!  Putting the blocks up on my design wall, I was tickled to find there were still many different designs that kept the curved look.

I decided to add two borders.  First I used some of the white 1 1/2″ strips I had left, then I purchased more of the Summer Breeze lll fabric in the darkest blue shade to offset the yellow.  I also used this blue fabric for the backing.

Time to quilt!  I used a new basting technique, a basting gun, which I reviewed here.  Not my fav way to baste, but I’m glad I tried it!

Turning to Christa Watson’s book Machine Quilting With Style, I found the quilting diagram on page 26 of her Ripples quilt to be perfect for this quilt.  I used a serpentine stitch already programmed into my machine, and set to quilting with white Isacord thread.  I love the ease and sheen of this polyester thread, and almost exclusively quilt with it.

IMG_6704Lots of threads to bury lol!  As you can see, I had a few “booboos”.  I patiently “unsewed” the over lapping threads, knotted and buried them.  And that hole you see?  That was made by my basting gun.  It closed up nicely, however, when the quilt was washed.  Whew!

A nice compliment to the squareness of the blocks!

Annnnn voila!  I used various strips from the Summer Breeze lll jelly roll to bind the quilt.

And yes, that’s the doily my hubby recently crocheted!

Thanks to suggestions from the Twilters group on Facebook, I decided to continue the same serpentine quilting pattern around the border.

I like sewing the binding to the front of the quilt, then hand sewing it to the back.  Adding a personalized label is the final TA DA!!! before putting it in the wash.

Here’s a pretty good look at the design.  Looove it!

Happy Friday everyone!
Dori

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TGIFF: A Whale of a Good Time Quilt

There’s nothing like presenting a gift that has love in every stitch.  Such was the case when I gave this adorable “Andrew” whale quilt to my Daughter-In-Law Jaqueline on the day of her baby shower.  She chose the pattern from the book Fat Quarter Baby, and asked that I choose colors that reflected their “under the sea” theme.  She wanted to be surprised, so I picked out the fabrics in secret.  I found the fat quarters at a booth called Custom Creations at Road to California, and I was off an running!



The pattern was fairly simple.  I had a heck of a time however…not the pattern’s fault, but my own brain translating the instructions.  But I never gave up, and with the help of my husband, was able to correct any boo-boos and finish the quilt in under three weeks.

I didn’t realize that I had chosen two fabrics that had directional designs.  This made piecing a bit more difficult, but certainly not impossible.  Here’s the in-progress quilt top.  My hubby placed all the bubbles for me before I appliquéd them down!

We experimented with this built in wave pattern on my Baby Lock Aria machine. What a gift! It worked perfectly!

And then a miracle happened!  For the first time, my husband asked if he could stitch one of the borders…of course I said YES!

The sandwich ready to be quilted!

Then a second miracle happened….da hubs offered to do ALL of the quilting. WOW! I happily gave up my chair after he mapped out and marked the whole design.

It took him about 2 1/2 hours to complete the quilting. Can you tell he’s really happy with the result? Trust me, I’m so impressed and it’s gorgeous!  Oh, and I had him pose in front of “Revolution”, the quilt he designed.  It’s still a work in progress.

I chose to machine stitch the binding to the front, then hand stitch it to the back. I really enjoy hand stitching with a good movie and hubby for company!  But first, I wanted to watch a tutorial on binding, a refresher course if you will.  I love this video by Kimberly of Fat Quarter Shop.  It really helped me to feel confident and well informed!

Finally, the day of the shower arrived. It was so nice to get such wonderful compliments on the quilt, and even nicer still, to say that BOTH Nona AND Papa worked on this project together.  Talk about stitching with love!!! I also made the adorable teddy bear you see in the crib. Here’s the link to THAT post lol!

I attached a label with the instruction that the quilt not be washed yet. After baby comes (he/she is due in late April) I’ll add baby’s name and birth date to the label, then we can soften it up with a gentle run through the washing machine.

Have a wonderful weekend, and thank you for your support and love!
Hugs,

DoriSignature

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TGIFF: Seminole Table Runner

I’m not sure what it is about the holidays but every year I get the wild hair to start something the week before Christmas that I MUST GET DONE by Christmas.

It happened last year with my first Dresden project that turned in to a holiday runner.  I was literally sewing the binding on before we left for our family gatherings! I was so proud of it that I took it with me so it would be used as a part of the holiday decor at each house we visited!

This year was no different. My husband went to Green Bay for a Packer’s game and went out of his way to find a quilt shop and bring home a kit for me. How thoughtful! Well, I started that project on Monday with the intention of working on it with my friend while the kids played together. That partially happened: I got to work on it but not with my friend because my son got very, very sick. 😦

The first part of this project is linked here. Check it out so see how the runner top came together!

Since that Wednesday post, I’ve been stuck at home with a sick kid and a lot of rain. So I’ve poured all of that pent up energy into sewing. I hit up Joann’s Wednesday night with a few coupons and swatches from the runner to audition backing fabric.

I got down to four. The decision was tough as so many worked really well with all the colors or at least complemented them.

I ended up choosing that upper left fabric  with the poinsettias and ribbons. It had enough of each original color in it to tie the whole thing together while having a bit of gold sprinkled about to give it some holiday flare.

Then I sat down to sew. Now the biggest issue I had was that I wanted to quilt these grand things and really go ALL OUT with my designs. But as I started with a red thread on the red squares, I chickened out and stuck to what I know: a meander on the red and some straight lines on the green. I used red and green thread to blend in to the color square I was working on.

It’s been a long time since I’ve quilted something using my free motion foot and I forgot that I tend to hold my breath when I’m quilting. As I took off and made my first stitches, I totally caught myself NOT BREATHING!

It’s an odd thing…

To keep things moving and to simplify my job, I had my side-threading needle handy to bury my thread as I went. This way I wasn’t going back and having to seek out where I started and ended. Instead I was doing it then and there!

I decided to attach the binding to the back and fold over to the front where I pressed and clipped it down. Originally I started sewing the binding from the front to the back and I hated the way it looked. It gave it a “fringe” that I didn’t like. I think I used this technique WAY in the beginning with one of my first quilts and while it worked for me then, now I’ve progressed to a point where I know I can do better.

So I decided to attached the binding using the “stitch in the ditch” method for a quick and clean look. I did alright, much better than I have in the past with this method, although I did have a corner to fix and some areas where I missed the binding and had small gaps.

And before the clock struck midnight, I was done! I was aiming to do some of my best work (really focused on pressing and starching my fabrics before and during the process) and I feel I really did a great job!

All the fabrics seem to work well together. My binging is not too shabby (although it could still use some practice). My quilting has really come a long way and I like the flow of the two types; straight lines and the meander.

I used pins to hold down my binding and I took my time to measure and cut carefully and yet, it’s still not completed flat and one end is a quarter inch wider than the other. I’m still working on achieving a more perfected rhythm to the whole thing. I’ll get there someday!

But hey… I started this runner on Monday and I finished by Friday. I’m proud of my self for sticking with something from beginning to end, trying some new techniques, and even going back to some old ones and working on improving them. Those are some big improvements in the way I tend to work so this is a serious accomplishment for me!

And this weekend it will travel with me to all of the holiday parties we have lined up. I may even leave it up until we go back to school. I mean, why not? It’s beautiful and I want to leave it out so I can enjoy it as long as I can!

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TGIFF: Jake’s Darth Vader Quilt

Months ago, my son had a little money burning a hole in his pocket. It went everywhere with him and he was always looking for something to spend it on.

Then we went to a craft show to check out all the tools and goodies displayed. While there Jake found a Darth Vader quilt kit for about $20. He bought it and took it home with the big idea to work on it with me.

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We started together in March. I did the cutting and pressing. He did the sewing. I was really impressed with his ability to sew straight although he did get a little bored at one point. I asked him to just sit through it and get the top done. Then I’d take over.

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And he did! He stuck it out and completed his first top. And look at those points!!!

Then the quilt sat for some time. More my fault than his. I had little free time to do it and I, too, get bored easily. I’ve never been good at sticking it through a whole project from beginning to end in a decent amount of time but I do try.

This past Thanksgiving I got the bug to really spruce up my craft room and get a few projects done And the first to get marked off that list: Darth Vader!

The quilting is simply straight lines on the diagonal. I also switched between red in one direction and white in the other. Sort of like the Dark Side versus the Light.

Of course, even though I did the finishing, I consider it Jake’s quilt. He did the piecing, he bought the package, and he will be the one to use it. And check out how proud he is!

Now I quilted to the very edge of the borders so it gives the back a nice clean, finished look. The stitching goes all the way to the end of the binding from the back. There is something I really like about this, and I can’t quite out my finger on it. But it’s pretty awesome looking.

I did the binding different this time. I rolled the backing fabric over to the front, glued it down, and hot pressed it together. Then did a simple straight line around the edge. And I have to say, it was a fairly easy process and gave it a very smooth look.

Even the mitered corners look crisp! I used a simple Elmer’s glue stick to first fold over the back to covered that raw edge. Then I smeared a little glue on the folded binding and pressed it with the iron onto the front of the quilt. I did use my Wonder Clips to hold it into place but I didn’t need it, honestly. The heat from the iron and the glue held really well.

Another shot, this time from the back. See how neat that is? A simple binding line and I don’t have that spot where I had to tuck the binding into itself. Instead it’s just a clean straight fold.

And with the quilting coming to the edge and folding over to the front, some of the ends dot the binding and the effect is kinda cool. Almost like stars in the galaxy peaking out of the dark skies.

The little man is pleased to have a quilt and I’m so proud that we did it together. There is another quilt in the books!

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TGIFF: Easy Peasy Jelly Roll Quilt!

Happy Friday!  I’m finally making a dent in my rather extensive WIP pile of quilts.  I finished my Jelly Roll quilt, and just love the Fall look of the colors.


I used a Moda jelly roll called Sunflower Song by Kansas Troubles Quilters.  I love these fabrics so much, I ordered a second jelly roll to use in a different quilt top!

 

IMG_5826.jpgThe tutorial I used came from (surprise!) Missouri Star Quilt Company.  Though Jenny Doan says you can complete this quilt top in 45 minutes to an hour, I confess it took me more like three hours.  With practice, I’m sure I can better that time!

Because this was a quick make, I made the choice to quilt it by stitching in the ditch with Isacord (which I LOVE), and instead of hand sewing the binding, I did it all by machine.  I also chose not to include any borders. This is the part of quilting I find so fascinating…the learning curve is HUGE, and finding my personal preferences is constant.  After finishing this quilt, I am convinced that hand binding is my thing.  I really enjoy the process and the look.  Live and learn!

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I used my binding tool to join the final seam of the binding.  It wasn’t as clean as I would like, so I’m thinking I have a bit more practice ahead of me in order to make my binding smooth and wrinkle free.

Have a wonderful weekend, and remember….be crafty, be creative!

Hugs,

DoriSignature

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TGIFF: My First Dresden!

Having my mom as my partner in crime is definitely a blessing in disguise because she’s constantly trying new things and it encourages me to step out of my comfort zone and do the same.

Now my husband may disagree only because when I get motivated to try something new that means trouble for our bank account. NEW FABRIC!!!! Must have rulers!!!! Oh he must cringe when I tell him I’m trying something new and I must go shopping! Ha!

In all honesty, he’s just as encouraging and supportive even if he’s cringing a bit inside. Thanks, love!!!

Before the holidays hit, my mom attempted her first Dresden in the form of a baby quilt/wall hanging. I was so taken with how quickly she put it together and how beautifully it looked that I had to try my hand at my own Dresden plate project. So, I started to cut into my Joyeux Noel set to make my own holiday wall hanging.

I pushed to have it finished before Christmas so I could use it and I literally finished it Christmas Eve!! And I took that thing with me to each of our holiday parties so I could display it.

Christmas Eve binding!

When it was all said and done, I was in love!!!

This project took on a whole different look once it was completed and I was so surprised. It has a rustic charm to it and it looks really well done even though I can see a few areas of improvement. But the overall effect is a well put together piece.

I used a different binding technique which was new for me. I did the double fold bias tape method. I have mixed feelings with this. I think it works BUT it could use some work. I think what saved my crooked lines is that I used a thread color that closely matched the binding color. Had I gone with a contrasting color, my mistakes would have stood out boldly and made the overall look messy and amateurish.

I have to say my favorite part to all of this is my quilting. Yes, I’ll toot my own horn. I LOVE MY QUILTING!!!! The echoing pattern radiating out from the Dresden really seals the deal. Again, my lines aren’t perfect and my start and stop points are messy but the choice to echo outward to the border and then leave the border plain with only a single framing stitch around the edge brought the whole thing together.

I love it! It’s tight, neat, and clean without being too busy and burdening the fabric with too much of a quilted pattern.

Now as I said, there are areas where I could use some work. First, my start and stop points. There was A LOT of nesting issues and I know that’s more an issue with me than with my machine. My machine works perfectly still and I make sure to clean it out, dust it off, and I switch out  my needles regularly so that it stays in tip top shape.

This is an area that I do need some help. I want the BACK of my quilted pieces to look as good as the front. Luckily this is a wall hanging so it will most likely be seen from the front only. If you look closely in the picture below, you’ll see how on the back my starting/stopping points are messy, bunched up, and there are some stitches that have even come undone due to not being totally tacted down.

While I wish the stop/start points were neater, the back is probably my favorite part. It looks to me like an art deco piece. And even though I LOVE the back and how it came together, I forget that I have the option to use two different colors, one in the bobbin and another up top. While this looks good to me, I’m still curious how it would have looked if I had used the deep rusty red thread in the bobbin that I used along the binding.

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So many things to think of and so many options for next time. And there will be a next time. I’ve fallen in love with Dresdens and I can’t wait to make my next one!

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