Sunday, January 31, 2010

Use My Stash Year : week 5

I made a large pile of stepping stones this week. Hopefully next week will include lots of backings. I have to get quilting on all of these auction things.

Busted: 1.958
Purchased: 0
Net YTD: (21.362)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Stepping Stones

I've cut out and appliqued some cute little footprints that the teacher turned into sandals, for another auction quilt.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Auction Quilt Top : puzzle

The first of the four auction quilt tops is pieced. This one is for a preschool. The teachers come up with the plan for the kids, then hand over the squares to be turned into a quilt however I like. I like how it looks - small, from afar, like this.

Kind of cute with preschoolers I guess, but marker artwork isn't my favorite thing. I do like how the whirygiggles lock like puzzle pieces, mirroring their theme.

I think I'll free motion outline the kids' puzzles and stipple everywhere else.

I have one more kid-artwork quilt to do and the finial ticker tape blocks are coming home. Can't wait to show you that one!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Use My Stash Year : week 4

This week I've been busy working on assembling all those blocks I cut out for the auction quilts. So no new stash used.

It was going to be great, and also have no new stash in. But I want into JoAnn's to make a return and found some things I couldn't pass up.

And they were all on sale! Too bad sale fabrics don't count less in the stash numbers.

Busted: 0
Purchased: (3.25)
Net YTD: (23.321)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Iron Decorated

Glad I took my old iron to make quilt blocks with the 5th graders. Some body's block was upside down and got stuck here.

I left my new one home because I knew that I wouldn't be able to go even a day without it, and I was leaving all the stuff at school every night.

Not that I iron clothing. That only happens once a year or so. But every quilt block gets a good press at every seam!

It's like fruit flies, really...

Making all those Figgy Pudding minis - it was like breeding fruit flies to study, doing so many little projects quickly showed me a few things.

Most of them had to do with finishing off and binding. Crazy Mom Quilts has an awesome tutorial that I used, and Julie just did another recently.

Julie's mention of marking your 1/4" in the corners helps keep corners nice and even. And the way Amanda Jean explained how to join your binding ends was so helpful! I don't know what my problem was, but it never worked out for me until I started doing that measure-over-1/2" thing. Now my joins lay perfectly every time.

My own tip to add in, which is probably impractical on a large quilt but perfect for a mini, was marking the squared outer edge onto the quilted top. I lined the binding edge up to that mark and sewed. No wonky shapes on these!

Then I just used pinking shears to clip along the edge - careful not to get that fold! This eliminated one of my most hated things, the little unravely strings that fly all about while you hand stitch the back.

Go visit Julie or Amanda Jean for all their awesome step-by-step pictures if you want some more binding tips.
And now just one more picture that I took before the tea, of all my little {children} quilts in one place.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

She Cried

We had my mom's birthday celebration this weekend. I got to give her the quilt I made, and she cried. I think she liked it.

(The light has been either glaring or non-existent lately, so this picture of the top before quilting is actually closest to the true colors.)

I chose the fabric and pattern for her way back last spring. It's Moda's Aviary and Fig Tree Quilts' Sweet Sugar Swirls pattern (made for a Honey Bun).

And began sewing on it in November. My mom had started reading the blog about that time, so I could only give a little peek! Making all those stars just right (from cutting to piecing) was a great challenge. I learned quite a bit after I finished grumbling about it. The biggest thing is that as I sub-cut joined pieces, I recheck square-angles-and measurement!

The back got the first star that ended up the wrong size. I had to do a LOT of trimming to square up as I made it, since the pieces were all slightly different shapes! Hence all the learning and resewing I did for the other stars.

I loved giving it to her! Happy Birthday Mom!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Use My Stash Year : week 3

I saw an adorable table runner at Modify Tradition - guest blogger Andrea of Knitty Bitties shared a tutorial on Wednesday. My kitchen table was looking pretty empty, so I decided to use up some stash!

I LOVE this rabbit eating the snowman's nose. And here's the back....

Michele said we could keep the scraps from her Bee square fabric, so I put the cute bird into a pinwheel.

This little project was the only newly used fabric this week, but I didn't buy any!

Busted: 1.486 (told you I had weird decimals)
Purchased: (0)
Net YTD: (20.071)

Also this week I got my first award!

A lemonade stand award - isn't it cute. It is to be awarded to bloggers that show great attitude and gratitude. Thank you so much Leslie! I have to pass the award around, so I'll post about other bloggers later.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Creative Kids

I've been in the classroom with the 5th graders this week. I visit one group each morning, tomorrow is the last.

I spread out the fabric bits on a big piece of poster board, makes for easier hunting! I also covered two clip boards with batting and muslin - it keeps the square still while they arrange and rearrange all the pieces. Then I press and fuse it all without worrying about messing up the creation.

I'm surprised at how much time they all take! Even the boys spend a good amount of time hunting and placing just the right pieces. They also tend to want to just line up the blocks and fill the space completely. Today I specifically asked that they consider leaving some white space. They all look amazing, but here are four of my favorites so far.

And a little test layout with the solid....

Monday, January 11, 2010

Pinwheel Star for Michele

This is a block for the other bee that I'm part of this year - One Block Over. I'm having great fun making just one or two blocks with fun fabrics. Avoids a bit of the 'second sock/mitten syndrome' that fellow knitters understand.

Michele sent a fun pile of Bloom and Grow from Riley Blake and loves both pinwheels and stars (me too!) She sent a pattern, but also said we could change it up pretty much however we liked. So I ended up with a wonky shooting star kind of thing.

With a super sweet bird in the top corner.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Use My Stash Year : week 2

After the huge fabric spree of Christmas '09 I knew I had to start seriously USING a ton of it.

I commented on a bunch of blogs that we should declare 2010 the 'Use My Stash Year' - then I saw Julie's post about her spreadsheet and was ready to go! A good spreadsheet makes anything fun! geeky Engineer here

To keep myself from thinking the stash was nearing extinction as I watched the numbers, I'm starting the year with the Fabric Shack purchase...especially since much of it was bought specifically for quilts to be completed in these first three months.

As I go along, I'm sure the way I use my tracking will evolve. For now, I enter the fabric as Used as soon as it is cut for sewing on a specific project. And I have all kinds of odd decimals as I add up usage in inches then convert to yards.

I busted a good amount this week as I prepped for three of the auction quilts and made a pillow case for my little nephew. As I say in the sidebar, hopefully you really will "Watch me try to use it all up" this year.

Busted: 16.2
Purchased: (37.8)
Net YTD: (21.6)

Friday, January 08, 2010

Log Cabins for Rebekah

I love mail - especially fabric mail! A nice little package arrive this weekend with a pile of amazing scraps from Rebekah.
I was asked to join a super cool bee by Julie and Audrie .... Bee Beautiful. Click that button on the right, and you can follow all the block-making and chatting on our group blog.
Anyway, Rebekah wanted log cabins, and I'm quite proud of making some cool looking blocks without adding any white within the logs! I so wanted to add a strip or two, but after looking over her blog and flickr noticed that she doesn't seem to use much white. Take a look at the other blocks the group has made. She's going to have a fabulous quilt!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The best laid plans of a quilter....

I have a plan for the 5th grade auction quilt that is probably much more complicated than it should be. But I think it will turn out really awesome. I've compiled this outline for the teachers to see, and also all you blog buddies out there. If you see a fatal flaw, please let me know now!

The auction is February 20th, so I'm hoping to get this done before the 19th.... Here's the little sample I and the kids made last month.

I'm going to alternate Ticker Tape blocks {thanks for sharing Amanda Jean! who else is still in shock, mourning, and denial that she won't be blogging anymore?! Hurray for her, sad for us} with a solid. This sample is linen, but I'm going to use Kona Ash for the big quilt. The finished project should end up about 65" square.

I have 6" squares - marked off to 5x5 - for each child to design. I was going to label them after completion, but worried I would mess up a child's name and then ruin their work. So I have written all their names already. There are 83 of them. I'll bring along some extras in case the roster had a typo or some other disaster befalls a square in the class room. The teachers can also do one, and they will be grouped on a back corner - not enough room on the front.

I have a HUGE pile of gorgeous, graphic fabric. I added Heat-n-bond, peeled it, then whacked the stack up into small squares and rectangles. In the classroom, each child can hunt for favorites, then I'll quickly set their creation with an iron to make sure their design stays.

Once pieced, I'll free motion, raw edge quilt each placed rectangle {nanananana I'm not listening to how insane that may be with 83 billion fabric bits} the solids will probably be stippled.

I decided to pre-cut the fabric bits based on how my test quilt worked....for one, kid school scissors barely cut paper. They weren't going to make nice edges on fabric! Then, when I gave a pile to each kid and said 'fill it up and make something', this was the result:

Caleb the 7th grader literally filled it up and didn't bother to cut much of anything.

Kenton the 5th grader made some crazy tiny bits. I would have needed a padded cell if they all made little bits like that!

Becket was too small to cut with the sharp scissors, so I did cut his pieces. I preferred the clean shapes and loved how he layered a few. He worked for quite a while to get his just right. This was more what I was aiming for. You can see the blocks I made in the corners of the sample at the top.

The total effect is going to be pretty cool. I can't wait to see what the kids make of this!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Quilt idea

I've been seeing quilt ideas everywhere! I love the way these rectangles were arranged, and the photos could be large scale prints, embroidery, or some kind of special pieced block.