Here’s To Our Health Episode #88

Since QuiltCon we’ve been bitten by the GET IT DONE bug! But illness took us out for a hot second. Now we’re back and getting all those UFO projects done!

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Short On The Borders

At the beginning of this year, my mom and I agreed that 2017 should be the year of finishes. We had enough projects going to last us a lifetime and we needed to get some of that work done!

Well I’ve sorta lived up to my word. I did finish my husband’s quilt not too long ago and he now sleeps wrapped up in it on warmed nights.

My son’s quilt still languishes due to having run out of his border colors. I’ll need to finally bite the bullet and just purchase more so I can get that one done, too!

But last summer I started a quilt with this adorable flannel fabric I found at JoAnns. Originally, I got it for a friend’s baby boy but he has since grown beyond such a young pattern. Then I was blessed with two nephews, one whose room is adorably grey and light colored, similar to this fabric. Plus, he’s got an animal theme going so it’s perfect for him.

Well, this project has made it’s way out of my drawers and I’ve finished the top. It’s small and simple, just right for a little guy who needs some extra snuggles on chilly fall nights.

It’s adorable and fuzzy soft. I’m considering some minky for the backing to make it even softer.

But I have a small conundrum. There is a border the lines only two sides of this top. It is the slimmer pieces that surround the larger squares. I’m all out of fabric from this kit (except for some random end pieces) so I have a few paths I can take to even this out.

  1. I could just leave it be with that slim border only on two sides.
  2. Or I could remove both sides and leave the outer edge border free.
  3. Or, and this one is probably the most work, I could trim down the borders and then attach it to the barren sides. But my cutting and measuring would have to be pretty precise if I don’t want to screw it up.

So, quilters, what should I do?? Should I go with plan 1, 2, or 3? Or maybe there is another plan I haven’t considered. I do have to get fabric for Jake’s superhero quilt so I could just see if JoAnns has any more of this kit lying around. This would mean I have 4 options!

Decisions, decisions!!!

WIP: The Puzzlebox Quilt

The last couple of weeks I’ve been very motivated to work on my quilts. It could be the regular podcast schedule we’ve been sticking to or meeting up with my good friend to quilt together each week. Either way, I’ve been cranking out blocks left and right.

I picked up my work on the puzzle box quilt and really went to town chain piecing like a fiend.

I took a look at the blocks and realized that I could piece most of the center pairs and not piece the whole block. Having my little thread cutter from Sunflower-Quilts really helped move this part of my process along very quickly.

It took a bit more work to organize things because originally I was completing a block each time I sat down to work and using up each color from the kit. Once I made the block, I could move on to the next color in the set. But since I switched to this new process, I only piece together a few pairs in each color and save the rest to be used later to complete the block.

It’s a good thing I like to be organized!

I am struggling a bit with the reds. They are so close in tone that I can’t quite tell them apart. We’ll see what happens as I move along through each color.

And even though I did a lot of great work on my own, getting together with my friend to quilt really motivates me to stick with it. In the span of time we worked together, I pieced a good chunk of blocks.

And I’ve been playing around with the layout on my design board. There is something fun about fiddling with how many different ways I can move these blocks around.

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WIP: Splendid Sampler Project #1

So I’ve got these blocks just lying around. They are pretty and I loved making them but I had no idea what to do with them.

Oh yeah…

That’s because they were apart of a larger project that I never completed! A little something called The Splendid Sampler.

It’s been awhile since I’ve played with these blocks but it’s time for me to do something with them. So I decided to pulled a few out and put them together into something I can use around the house. Plus it would give me the ability to practice my free motion quilting on smaller projects.

My first project (yet unnamed) is going to be a table topper/runner. I pulled three pieced blocks and sashed them with black and then bordered the whole thing in a complementary cream fabric from the same line.

The top turned out super cute. I stuck with only pieced blocks so that they seemed uniform and not too busy.

Then I decided to try my hand at a little pebbling. I did some practice runs before hand to get my tension and pacing down. Then I took to the borders with a black Aurifil thread so that if I did make a mess, it would be hard to see.

Probably the best idea as my pebbling definitely needs work. 

As I battled with my quilting and trying to make decent little circles, I realized that my batting was making a complete mess. Fuzz everywhere… And a few of my seams decided to pull and strain, which annoyed me but not enough to pull it out and start over.

Had I used any other lighter color for the backing, the fuzz probably would bug me so much. But up against that black, all I an see is the nasty white fur all over.

During some of my time off, I’m planning to get back to pebbling and practicing. I’m also recording my process for our YouTube channel so stay tuned for any updates!

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WIP: Flannel Baby Quilt

Sometimes, the best way to get back in the swing of things is to start up something new. Now I have more than enough projects going on but none of them are calling to me. I’m still working through Darth Vader and it’s going well but I was already feeling less interested in it and I knew, if I wanted I stay motivated, I would need something new to draw my attention in.

While out and about with the guys, we stopped in our local Joann’s and a pack of flannel charm squares caught my eye. I had a gift card and a coupon (YAY coupon!) so I picked up two packs and a new seam ripper.

I broke my old seam ripper when I used it to try and pick out a fluff ball inside my machine.

But I digress. 

I decided to string the blocks together in rows of three with the intention of making a version of a 9 patch quilt. The quilt will be for a friend’s baby boy who is about 6 months old.

Now this is my first time using flannel and it’s not so bad but I do love my cotton. It doesn’t shift and move on me as much. This flannel seems finicky too. Some of the squares are not perfectly cut and I had some trimming to do to make them work.

It came together rather quickly and it got me moving and stitching. My machine whirled and I worked through it until my bobbin ran out then I’d switch it up with Darth Vader and sew a few rows on him until that bobbin ran out. It’s a new concept for me, working through the bobbin then switching up projects until that bobbin runs out.

We’ll see how it goes…

From rows to blocks, I finished them all, played them out, then took them to the cutting board. Then came time slice and dice. I decided I wanted to play and to cut into the blocks to make up interesting patterns. Like cutting into a block to make a disappearing 9 patch.

Sadly, after the first cut, I didn’t like it…

It’s too busy…

Oh well, I’m powering through. I think, had I included one common solid in each block, it would have worked out better.  I just think that with all the busy little patterns, it’s a bit too much. But, who knows!? I might work out just fine!

My current book in progress: The New Rules of Lifting for Women. I am back on the workout train and this book has a lot of interesting info for both the diet and your workout routine. I’m not ready to get into the weight room (I have major anxiety about it) but my eating has been super clean and healthy and I’m moving everyday, even if it is to catch Pokemon!

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WIP: Jake’s Darth Vader Quilt

My son is a pretty interesting character. He loves soccer and playing Minecraft. He reads comic books and “boy humor” books like Captain Underpants. He’s fascinated with space and science and he loves the color pink.

What can I say, when I made him I broke the mould!

When I started quilting oh so long ago, Jake was fascinated with my machine and all the working bits. Then he started working on his own projects with my help.

Well this year he turned the big 1-0. And with some of his birthday money, he bought himself a quilt kit at the Pomona Crafting Fair.

Along with all of his interests, Star Wars is a big one, too. And this old school Star Wars mama is completely thrilled with this.

His kit came with two panels that included all his fabrics. We had to cut them apart to get started. The Vader panel is the center piece to the whole project which I felt was a great choice for Jake. Other than some light piecing around the edges, the main focus is already done for him.

So we sat down together and worked through this project. I did the cutting, he did the pressing. Then he sat down to sew and I took over the pressing so that he could focus on keeping things neat and straight.

He was pretty proud of his progress and I made sure to document his journey. Who knows how long he’ll enjoy sewing let alone the company of his mother!

The next day we sat down and really planned to whip through the rest of the borders. The project is fairly straight forward so I wanted him to work through it from beginning to end and not lose focus.

And we finished. Well, with the top at least. After we had everything squared up and ready to go, we shopped for his backing fabric. We went with a Kona solid in black to keep it simple.

I’ve left enough fabric to roll over from front to back as the binding. I figure I’ll be binding it although I’d love to see him attempt to quilt it. That may be asking a lot but it’s worth a try!

I was really proud of him. He stuck with this project and saw it through to the end of the top. He put a lot of effort into it and made sure he took his time to do his best. It’s a good looking top that just needs some quilting and binding!

Did I say he loved Star Wars? Well I wasn’t lying! This is his newly made Imperial Assault Carrier that he made on his own (I only helped a little).

This post is linked up with Sew Fresh Quilts.

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WIP Wednesday: Jelly Roll Quilt

I needed a quick and satisfying project to get me back in the swing of creating yesterday.   I quickly went through my jelly roll drawer, and searched for the fabric that made my heart race the most.

I kept coming back to this Moda jelly roll called Sunflower Song.  Yup!  That was it! Civil War type prints in rich browns, greens, cream prints, blues and deep reds, was the ticket! 

I rewatched Missouri Star Quilt Co.’s YouTube tutorial Jelly roll race and then sat down at my machine and started stitching.  It took me more than the hour the video claimed it would take (I’m persnickety), but the basic top is done!  Yay!  I’m considering adding one border before I sandwich it and quilt it.

 I also saw the opportunity to take this finished top and cut it up into a completely different design if I wanted to take it further.  I could use my 60 degree equilateral triangle ruler (demonstrated here) or one of Crafty Gemini’s projects using her 10″ slicer ruler found in her YouTube tutorial here.  So many ideas!

For now, I’m itching to finish this simple quilt!  I’m deciding if I want to do a fun over-all free motion design, or a quick and easy stitch-in-the-ditch with my walking foot.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

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WIP Wednesday: The “Revolution” Beatles Quilt

To say I’m excited is an understatement.  A few short months ago, I got my sewing machine out of storage after years of nonuse.  Thanks to my daughter Katie, I was inspired to make a QAYG quilt for a friend who’s son was due in a couple of months.  I remember knowing how to turn on my Viking #1+, but even sewing a straight line seemed foreign to me after so long.  I finished the quilt, and yes, caught the bug!

Now, I have a creative space that holds my new Koala sewing table, a crafting table, my mother’s bridal hutch that is bursting with beautiful fabric, my new Baby Lock Aria, and a design wall that has displayed multiple quilts in progress.  Here’s a video of that space from our YouTube channel!

It’s what’s on that design wall that has my heart stopping every time I look at it!

My husband, Reg, is a lifetime Beatles fan.  He has a guitar strap that he loves-it’s the four Beatles individual faces in black and white, taken from an iconic photo from their White Album.  A few weeks ago, he told me he would love to have a quilt made around those images.  That sparked his imagination and mine as well.

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Since then, he’s gone to great lengths to make the design in his head come to fruition.  First he designed 12 blocks with borders and a creative back, on graph paper.  He then contacted Matt, a graphics designer (who’s girlfriend, Cassie, works for us), and had him take the images on the web, and turn then into a B&W file that we could have printed out.  He then had another employee’s (Teri) husband, Mark, print out the images, on both light and heaver weight paper.  Reg used the lighter weight papered images on the light box he made me, to trace each image onto Steam-A-Seam.

 After ironing the traced pieces to white Kona, I cut out all the pieces while relaxing with him and binge watching Jessica Jones on Netflix lol!

Using the heaver papered images as a map or template, Reg took all those pieces and adhered them to 16 1/2″ squares of black Kona.  I ironed them, and now they await machine appliquéing with invisible thread!

We have nine more blocks to go through this same process.  Every block is different.  Yay for husband/wife creative team work!

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WIP: Joyeux Noel Dresden Plate 

You  know that feeling you get when you are about to cut into some new fabric and you just want to keep them so pretty and perfect but you also want to play with them?

Yeah, this picture sums that up. That tense feeling of “NO! I don’t want to use it, I just want to keep it so I can look at it” mixed with “But I want to play with it too!” It’s definitely a mixed bag of feelings when it comes to cutting into a fat quarter bundle.

Especially one as pretty as the Joyeux Noel kit we added to our stash just last week. It’s drool worthy.

But I didn’t want to keep staring at it and decided to cut into it and attempt my very first Dresden plate. Using four fat quarters from each set of patterns, I cut out my plates using a nifty ruler my mom has. Then I folded each plate, right sides to right sides, along the longer end and sewed the fold together. I chained all 20 of my plates along then snipped them free.

My pile of plates waiting to be snipped.

Now it’s time to press!

Once freed from the chain, my mom taught me how to turn the sewn ends right side out and press down the “dart” so that it came to a crisp point at the tip.

This purple little tool is pretty nifty and helped me get the points nice a sharp.

After everything is pressed and my plates are ready to go, I laid them down and organized them. I had five solid fabrics that I made as my focus points and then placed one of each of the other fabrics in between. That way I felt I had a good mix of colors and patterns.

My final result!! Well, so far! By the time I got the whole circle done, I was mentally drained but very satisfied. So even though my mom sat with me and showed me how to start my center point, I just couldn’t comprehend what she meant for me to do. So I put everything I had done so far aside and promised to come back and finish it once I got some rest and was ready to take on the next step.

Even though I didn’t finish it, I have my center piece picked out and a nice green backing to put it on. I fussy cut the Joyeux Noel piece and plan to appliqué it on the center. This is turning out to be adorable as it is so I may make it into a wall hanging for the Christmas season.

I started this project at 3:00 this afternoon and wrapped up the majority of the sewing by 6:30! So the hardest work was all done within 3 1/2 hours. All I have left is to appliqué it all down then sandwich my finished top, quilt, then bind. My plan is to work with what I have and avoid buying anything new.

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WIP: Friendship Quilt Almost Done!

I’ve been slowly regaining my creative mojo the last couple of days. First, I cleaned my craft room then I worked on a DIY project that gave me a small yet sweet taste of success. These little steps have helped me get back on my machine and sewing again.

Feeling the itch to sew had me pulling out my friendship quilt that I started months ago. It was a kit given to me by my parents. After the majority of the top was pieced, my husband informed me that he would like to have it as his own quilt.

Okie dokie, I said! The Friendship Quilt is now his and I’m getting close to the end of this process.

 

Yesterday I fit the borders on and wrapped up the entire top of the quilt. After having my husband hold it up to himself, we decided it’s the perfect size and won’t need any more border to thicken it up.

My husband was excited to wrap his new quilt top around him and test it out, saying it’s great but that he wants a nice thick batting to make it his number one blanket to sleep with. So I have some shopping to do in the coming months. He wants a fleece like backing and a thicker batting so that he had officially get rid of the ugly blanket he uses now and replace it with my beautiful batik quilt.

I’m excited to quilt this one because there are so many wide open space that I can play with. Each square is large in the center with a wide border on each side and a square at each corner. I see so many possibilities with the quilting that I can’t wait to get through the process of basting the layers together and jump right into quilting.

I’d like to set a goal and get this thing done before 2016 rolls around so that he can use it through the cooler months.

This set left me with a bunch of great scraps so after the borders were complete I started to play around with them and create an improvisational quilt square. There is no pattern and no guidelines other than to just work through the process as each piece is added. So far I’ve got a good working base and I’m enjoying the free creative process here, although that slanted edge there makes me a bit nervous…

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