Thursday, March 28, 2013

Quilt Finish and a Giveaway for a Great Cause!!

My latest finish, which YOU could win!
Some times when you are involved in something every day, you forget that other people may not even know it's going on.

And then sometimes when you try to explain just why it's some important... it's just too big to find the words. 

That's where I'm at today. So instead of words I'm going to use pictures, because they say it better than I could.

Above is Katie and below is Theo.  Both of them were adopted from orphanages in Eastern Europe and their cases are NOT unique.  Both of their lives were saved by adoption.  For thousands of orphans with special needs the reality of every day life is one of abuse, neglect, starvation, and early death.  It's not nice to think about it, but once you know the truth, how can you turn away?

Reece's Rainbow is one organization of several that campaigns for the adoption of these children by raising the money needed to cover their adoptions.  Right now hundreds of families are in various stages of the process of bringing home children from over seas.  You can help save a child's life by donating to a family or child in need.

There's a great big giveaway going on right now to benefit seven adopting families and twelve waiting children.  (You can get to it by clicking on the link above).  Among the $5,000 worth of prizes up for grabs are two of my quilts, the one in this post and the unnamed (and unfinished) animal quilt.  There are also a few other quilts, IPads, Wii games, Kindles, gift cards, and more!

My latest finish, which YOU could win
This was a fun quilt to make. (It was also the one I was working on when I sliced the end off my finger.  D'oh!)  I got the gray fabric with the horses on it in a scrap pack from the Hawthorne Threads and decided to make a quilt around it; all the color were drawn from that fabric.  I love the way this one came out!  I straight line quilted around all the block and then stippled inside them.  The quilt is about 60" square, a perfect size for a couch quilt the whole family can enjoy.

Please, please, please, go check out the giveaway going on to benefit these kids and GIVE.  Not just because you want to win something cool, but because you want to make a difference; save a life.  You may not think your donation is much, but every little bit helps.  Together we can bring these kids HOME.

Click HERE.  And Thank you.

Linking to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Architextures HSTs WIP

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Here's what I am working on this week.  I sewed up the rest of the HSTs I needed for my Architextures quilt and threw everything up on the design wall. It was gratifying to chop up the many, many odd size/shape scraps of various shades of blue I had amassed and turn them into something.  My blue solids collection is almost manageable now (but really, you can never have too many blues, right?)

This is just the first layout, I am going to be tweaking it over the next several days, but I really like the direction it's heading. You know I love to see how far I can stretch a charm pack :)  I'm expecting not to add any borders, so this one should finish in the 56" sq ballpark(there are 3 more columns that wouldn't fit on my design wall.)

Linking up to WIP Wednesday, where she also has an HST project going!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Color Party on the Wall!

Is it Monday again already? How did that happen?! The weeks just seem to be going by faster and faster lately. I did manage to get a little bit done last week. There are two projects going on the design wall currently.

The off center lonestar is based on this one by Better off Thread.  I pulled the fabrics based on colors from an argyle fabric, but didn't actually find anywhere to use the inspiration fabric in the quilt! Funny how that happens sometime. Anyway, I LOVE the colors of that star. So different and so bold.  I am planning to use a brown solid for the rest of the top and place the star as it is on my design wall, toward the bottom left.  The quilting is going to be so much fun to do on this one.

The project with all the HSTs is making use of my Architextures charm pack.  Last night I started sewing up the rest of the HSTs; what is on the wall is about 1/3 of what I need.  The rest of the HSTs are much more blue and purple heavy, so hopefully the final quilt will end up being blue, purple, and cream with pops of color.

Here we go on another crazy week.  Hope you find some time it sew!  I'm linking up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Quick picture post

Two projects going at once on the design wall.  Architextures on top (only 276 HSTs to go!).  On bottom I'm working on an off center lonestar like this one.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Another way to make a pillowcase: Tutorial

It's a rough week, so this pillowcase is my only finish.  It's part of a set and will go with the animal quilt in an upcoming drawing (I'll tell you more later).  There are a million pillowcase tutorials out there (see Google) so I thought as long as I was making one I'd throw in my two cents. This probably isn't a new way, and I'm not claiming it's the best way.  This is just my way :)  Maybe it will be helpful to someone else.

(These directions are for a standard size pillow. You can adjust the measurements for a larger size.)

First select three fabrics.  One for the body (3/4 of a yd should be enough), an accent or trim fabric, and a contrasting fabric for the sleeve. 

Cut 23.5"x36.5" for the body of the pillow, 0.75"x36.5" for the trim and 10.5"x36.5" for the sleeve. I didn't have enough to make the sleeve from one fabric.  If you have the same problem, cut equal pieces of two fabrics instead (10.5"x18.5") and sew them together.  The seam line will fall right on the crease of the pillow and be practically unnoticeable.

Head over to your iron and iron the trim fabric in half long-ways as if you were making really thin binding.

Iron the sleeve fabric in half long-ways as well.

Using an 1/8th inch seam sew the folded over trim fabric to the folded over sleeve, aligning all their raw edges.  This is just to hold things in place to make the next step easier. Whichever side of the sleeve you attach the trim to will be the outside of the sleeve on the finished pillow.  If your fabric is directional you'll need to decide which way you want it to be facing at this point.

Next flip over the sleeve/trim piece and align it with one of the long edges of the body piece.  Sew a quarter inch seam attaching the sleeve to the body with the trim sandwiched in between.

If your machine has a serging stitch use it to finish off the raw edges of the seam you just sewed.  (If you don't have a serging stitch a zig zag works, too, to keep the edges from fraying.)

Flip your pillowcase over to the right side.  Push the seam allowance underneath toward the end of the pillow (the sleeve) and the trim toward the body.  With a matching thread color straight stitch or use a tight zigzag to tack down the trim.

Using a thread that matches the sleeve, sew a slim 1/4" to the right of the trim, tacking the seam allowance to that side.

Turn your pillowcase wrong side out and fold it in half, matching the raw edges.  Starting at the sleeve, sew a 1/4" seam to join to two open sides.  Use your serging or zigzag stitch to finish the seam in the same way as before.  Turn right side out and Ta-Da! You're done!

Let me know if you have any questions/comments!

Linking up to Finish it Friday! Go checkout what everyone else is doing :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Design Wall Monday

I'm trying something new, linking up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.  The so-far-unnamed animal quilt top is on the wall.   This is going to be a really busy week at school for me (and therefor a slow sewing week) so I will probably get to stare at it all week and contemplate quilting.  It is going to be for an drawing, which I'll tell you more about later, so I do have a deadline, but I still have some time.

Seismic, my stash bee quilt, has now grown to the point that it has graduated to the "design floor" because that's the only way I can see the whole things at once.  I broke up the cheddar sashing with a really dark blue and it helped the top a lot.  I think this one might be done; I really don't think it needs borders.  In any case it's going to be a while before I get around to basting it, so I have lots of time to decide if it needs more.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Quick and Dirty Cat Toy Tutorial

As you know, we're a bunch of sophisticated kitties around here. So, in the grand tradition of the outdoor Cat Igloo I bring you, the Quick and Dirty Cat Toy! These take no time at all to make and all of our cats go nuts for them. 

So, here's what you're going to need:  an old sock (preferably one with the heel worn through that you really ought to stop wearing anyway), loose cat nip, some worn out cat toys (noise makers are good), and miscellaneous ribbon scraps for the tail.  You could do this with just the sock and catnip, the rest is just extra.


Step 1: Fold down the sock and pour some catnip into the toe. I used about a tablespoon, but the amount isn't very important.  Then shove in your cat toys and work everything tightly down into the toe.

Step 2: Line the sock up on your machine and sew a couple times across to keep everything sealed in the toe.  Using a zipper foot makes this easier if you have trouble. Remember-- it's a cat toy; you want to keep the cat nip contained, but otherwise neatness does not count!

Step 3: Fold a few lengths of ribbon in half and poke their raw ends up inside the sock, against the seam you just sewed.  Sew a couple more times across the sock about a half inch from the first seam line to be sure you catch the ends of the ribbon firmly.

At this point your sock toy should look like this:

Step 4: Fold the open end of the sock down and around the toe.  This will make the toy tougher for when your kitties try to kill it.  Match up the sides of the cuff and sew across them. Again a zipper foot helps but isn't at all necessary.

Ta-da! You should have a double-layered, catnip filled, kitty ball of delight, complete with a tail. 

Present it to your favorite feline and proceed to annoy him by taking his picture.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Finish: Counting Elephants

Counting elephants.  Because counting sheep is soooo pedestrian. 

This quilt was supposed to be a baby size when I started, I swear.  I seem to have some kind of mental block about small quilts.  This quilt was born on a lazy Saturday afternoon of improv piecing with no plan in mind.  I added strips, decided to make it symmetrical, added solids to the end of strips that were too short, until I ended up with a quilt 42"x67".

LOVE these tiny elephants! I'm going to need to get some more.

...Yep, that's a little long and skinny.  It looked like a beach towel. Going to need some borders and call it a twin size, so off I rushed to the fabric store, because of course I didn't have enough of any black and white fabric to border it. I made it there 5 minutes to close and found the perfect fabric.  I don't know how Loretta does it, but she packs the best fabrics into her tiny store.

Elephant Run by Tina Givens.  Look at those whimsical little elephant riders!!

I know every quilt is my new favorite, but I really love this one! The colors are so different from what you usually see and it was so much fun to pull favorites from my stash.  It all started with that Elephant Run fabric from Tina Givens that I bought on Etsy, I just picked fabrics that complemented it.  I used up the last of a few of my old favorites in this one.
That ornate black and white print on either side of the numbers strip has been a favorite of mine since my very first quilts.  This used up the last of it besides tiny scraps.

The idea to include a strip of the IKEA numbers fabric came out of nowhere, but ended up being the centerpiece of the quilt.  I was pleased to find a strip that included the all important number: 42.  That, along with the dream-y quality of the elephant rider fabric gave me the idea for the name of this quilt.  Can't you just see a little adventurer falling asleep, counting elephants?

The backing used up two of my favorite IKEA prints.  (We made a trip to IKEA earlier this week so I was able to restock.)  After making the front two-tone it seemed appropriate to keep the back to the same color scheme.

The quilting is horizontal in the center section to emphasize the stripes. I did the same thing in the borders, but vertical. I felt like straight line quilting was the only choice for this quilt, with all the stripes on the front.

I didn't get a close up picture of the binding, but I tried Cheryl Arkinson's technique to joining it at the corners so that I could have green binding on the sides and black on the top and bottom. I can't say I would try it again unless I was just desperate to get that effect of two colors at the corner. The corners were extremely bulky and hard to work with and seemed to be too big? I had to create pleats to get the corner to fold over the top. That said, they look pretty good now that it's done, and I do love the effect.

Isn't this IKEA print the best? I couldn't find any more of it at the store so I'll have to horde what I have left.
This quilt will be going to live with a friend from school and her family who are having a rough time.  I she'll really appreciate to different-ness of it.

Linking up to Amanda Jean's Finish it Friday.

PS: My finger is healing nicely (had an incident with the rotary cuter a week ago). Thanks for all the well wishes :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Seismic

Ok, so no awards for my photography tonight.  I am worn out! These are my blocks from the Stash Bee up on the design wall.  There is one more column of blocks which won't fit on the wall; it goes to the right of these.  This is going to be large quilt.  On the order of 80" square all told.  Many thanks to my bee members who sent so many great blocks!  I've decided to name it Seismic Waves.

I am conflicted about the sashing on these...  I though golden yellow was going to be the right choice for uniting all the different blocks, but it looks awfully cheddar.  I think I am going to cap the columns off and border the whole thing in a really nice dark blue to hopefully chill it out.  We'll see if that works.  Any suggestions? Any one?

Linking up to WIP Wednesday, check it out!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Quilt-Cat Cuteness

Just because it's Monday and we all need some cat pictures in our day.

"Helping" me quilt. 
Wilson, aka Mr. Wilson, Wilson-Wilson, aka Willaby, aka Willie B., aka "Cuddles" (said sarcastically).  Chief Quilt Inspector at Kat and Cat quilts takes his job very seriously.  He doesn't take "No, you can't lie there," for an answer.

Talking to the birds out the window
I finally took his hint and rearranged the top of this shelf to give him a place to lie in the sun and snooze.

"Helping" quilt again, and taking a bath on my quilt!
Read more about Wilson, the amazing cat-allergic cat, here.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

One-Day Baby Quilt

Last week, in the midst of preparing for the other baby shower my mom asked me to make something for a friend of hers who is ALSO have a little boy.  How could I say no?

Yup, it's still windy here

I decided on a simple layout of 5" squares.  I cut 6 squares each out of 8 different fabrics. The baby's mama likes neutrals so I pulled a selection with tans and greys to make a low-ish volume palette.  The print with the leaves is a Lonni Rossi fabric that Ann at The Orange Crumpled Napkin sent me (thanks, Ann!!)

The quilt came to 30"x40", a perfect baby size.  I quilted it with straight lines outlining the seams to keep things simple and soft and backed it with some flannels from my stash.  A cream binding and it was all done; from start to finish in one morning!

This was the first time I've ever used Hobbs heirloom cotton batting and it won't be the last! I love how it made for a lighter quilt and I swear, I think it's softer than my quilts using Warm and Natural usually turn out. 

Another quilt, set off into the world to lead it's own life :)  I'm linking up to Finish It Friday, hop over there to see what everyone else has been up to.

[edited to add:] So there I was, cutting 1.5" strips of some lovely Kona Bone and I finally did it. Sliced a chunk off my finger with the rotary cutter. Those boogers are sharp! Blood got EVERYWHERE, except on the fabric. Lol. Surely that is some kind of proof I am a quilter? I'll sacrifice anything to keep the fabric clean. I don't think stitches will be needed, but I'll keep you posted. The worst part? I was going to finish that quilt today!

scene of the crime