Thursday, September 30, 2010

Swap Pincushion

 Another fun swap!  The Scrappy Pincushion Swap
 (and my white and blue pumpkins from TJs - I love them!)

Some bits of quartered Neptune charms were hexed, then I lined the underside with fusible fleece.   I stuffed it with a very fine grain lizard litter.  My favorite for the heft it gives to a pincushion.  

I'm hoping that fleece lining will make sure the grains don't sneak out of hexagon seams.

I kind of tufted it with a button on the top and bottom.  I think that keeps it in a nice, firm shape.  I like my pins to stay where they are stuck.  

Sending it off today.....I hope my partner enjoys it!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I've been doing lots of this - well, watching at least.

And have worked in a bit of this.

I really love chopping up fabric and sticking it back together!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Usin' my stash

 {from the last post, I found my super yummy pumpkin bars here - use a big jelly roll pan, that isn't mentioned in the linked recipe} ....ok, now I'm using this new blogger editor and can't get that crazy highlight to go away.  so I changed it to a nice, pumpkin color.

I had fun the last couple of days just using my stash!  
(It's been a while....I'll have to do an offical update on that this weekend)

I have an owl quilt that was started.

 And I'm trying to push myself a bit with some quilty things
so I thought I would try out some purple. 

I had literally pulled out the fabrics I wanted to make a huge wonky star, then put them back and pulled out my purples.

Plus some green.  I loved the purple and green that Audrie used.

But I got to the point of sewing the nine parts together and wasn't sure!  I couldn't tell if it was my purple bias, or it just wasn't right.  Usually I'm like - wow I love this thing I just made. Not as much with this one.    

So I tested out the birds....
Seeing it posted now, I agree with Julie when I asked for her help - this is totally wrong.

It sure it a challenge working with colors that aren't your favorite.  

Fun! (And feel free to offer your thoughts on the purple star)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

quilt as you go | vintage

With both the quilt-as-you-go quilt along and my month for the Vintage Sheet Bee on my mind, I decided to try Penny's original QAYG style with my vintage sheets. It was a fabulous success.

I haven't squared/trimmed up my blocks yet, as I'm not sure what I want their finished size to be. So they're a little ragged on the edges, but I love them.

I like the look when most of the blocks have a light outer edge, so that's what I was going for with these three. I realized while I was doing it that I would not have a whole quilt worth of light edges that contrast enough with the centers. So this will be perfect for my Bee! I can't wait for November now, when I send batting off and see what wonderful blocks the group comes up with.

We had lots of fun this weekend, including family - picnics at polo fields - and pumpkin bars.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Rainbow of Happiness

A fun rainbow block for Bee Beautiful - Vicki sent us a pile of 2" squares, asked us to add a few of our own. I had to send it back quickly, before I kept it myself.

When downloading my pictures, I realized I hadn't looked at the ones I took during Becket's first day of preschool this year.

The first thing he did was draw a Star Wars battle on the big chalkboard.
{They're wonderful, old chalkboards. Original to the old, one room schoolhouse building the preschool lives in}

(I just noticed that I spelled 'their' wrong in the photo - but now I have to make all new photoshop layers and stuff because I flattened and closed the file. Totally annoying...I don't have time to fix it.)

Then he spent a bunch of time at the paint easels. This year they have pallets and extra brushes available to them.

His teacher showed how he could mix his own, custom paint colors. The teacher said he's there every day now! His favorite color to mix is green.

I have a rainbow pile waiting in vintage sheets. Ready to become a QAYG block. I think this will be my block for the Vintage Bee I'm in.

But I have to clean and stuff - bunch of family is arriving for the weekend, and we'll be having a 2yr old birthday party for my nephew.

Lots to do!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thangles {Shoo fly} : a tutorial

I think everybody has their favorite HST making method. My favorite is to sandwich two squares, sew the diagonal twice, then cut apart. Thangles are kind of like that, but you don't cut the squares. (I'm not a Thangles seller or anything - just a new thing I wanted to share)

Last October my local quilt shop started up "Buck a Block". You signed up and chose a color scheme: modern-red/white-batik : plus purchased a package of Thangles papers. Then each month you go in and for $1 you get a package of two WOF strips and a pattern for a half square triangle style block.

Interested in trying out something new, I signed up and chose modern. After a few months I realized that perhaps they weren't really modern quilters, and bought the block but didn't assemble any. Each individual fabric was nice, but the pairs were horrible in the context of two-patterned HST blocks.

So I decided to pair each with Kona charcoal instead and send them out to my bee buddies, and hopefully they will enjoy learning a new technique!

So here's how it goes. How to make a shoo fly block with Thangles....

I sent everybody two pieces of Thangles 2.25 paper, a 2.75x18" solid strip, and a 2.75xWOF print strip.
To use Thangles, you cut your strips 1/2" wider than your finished square size - that finished size is printed on each paper.

From the WOF print strip, cut and square off a tiny bit of the folded end, then make four 2.75" square cuts - you get eight total squares since you're cutting the doubled fabric.

Cut two single 2.75" squares from the solid fabric.

On your cutting mat, place the solid fabric, then one strip of the print fabric right-side-down on top. Line up the long edges nicely.

Close to one end, place a Thangles paper on top of your strips. Line up the edges nicely, again.

Without moving your little stack, carefully pin it all together in each triangle section. Run pins parallel and to the side of the dashed stitching lines.

They say that making your stack and pinning in place on your met will make it easy to have everything nicely lined up.

The Thangles are made on paper that is supposed to be easy-tear and they say you do not need to shorten stitch length. But I did a bit, just to make the removal process even easier.

Sew right on top of each dashed line.

Now, you need to cut them apart. See that solid line - when you get close it's actually a double line. This cut actually makes the outside edges the correct finished size, so the cut needs to be accurate.

Aim for the white down the center of the double line.

The diagonal lines are in the seam allowance, so they aren't that critical. Just cut.

One strip of paper gives you four triangles at this point.

The way the shapes sit, one of the dog ears is already gone. The remaining point can easily be trimmed perpendicular to the long edge, at the end of the stitches.

Time to iron!
Thangles say they are printed with heat proof ink, so you can press right on the printing without making a mess. So just set the stitches first.

{When I started quilting, I saw this set-the-stitch press thing and thought it was a silly time waster. But I found that it really does help with seam-size accuracy}

You press the block open with the paper still attached to help avoid seam distortion. Usually an open-seam gal, but the side press is easiest here.

Lay the blocks solid-side up, open up and press the solid flat.

Four nice, square 2.25" blocks from one Thangles strip.

Carefully pinch the end, so your stiches don't pull out, and just rip off the papers.

Make eight blocks, using both pieces of Thangles paper.

Almost done!

Lay out your HSTs and the squares we cut at the beginning in a nine patch-shoo fly shape.

Sew them up! Twice.....

Two Shoo fly blocks!

It's not as complicated as the million steps seem.

My thoughts on Thangles: The paper pinning and tearing add a few steps. I think it may be a bit more fiddly than making the HSTs my normal way.

BUT, the finished HST block is much more consistantly square (without having to trim square them up) than any other methods I've tried so far. Less stretching when sewing along the bias and elimnation of variation that happens when original patches aren't cut totally square.

Thangles are made for finished block sizes of .5" to 6" in steps of a quarter or half inch. I'm not sure I would use them for large sizes, as I just square them up easily. But if you're making a bunch of small HST blocks, they might make your final creation easier to assemble with nicely square pieces!

I can't wait to get the shoo fly blocks back from my bee partners - I will be interested to see just how precise the Thangles generated blocks end up.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bees Really are Awesome

Even though I have a million things to do - quilty and non-quilty, I keep joining bees and swaps.

The positives of doing them definitely outweigh any time issue negatives.

Here I have some yellow and gray disappearing nine-patch blocks I made for a swap. Kind of like the purple, I'm not a big fan of just gray and yellow. Even though I've been seeing it around a lot - it's obviously a hot color combo - I often feel the values are too similar and they can fall flat. I liked the push to make myself think a bit more in value and pattern contrast when I trying to create blocks I would be happy with.

I'm surprised how much I like this spider web block for my Vintage Sheet Bee. Although I really love several of the bolder vintage sheets, I'm definitely not a pastel person. For this spider web, the softer patterns were specifically requested. While making the four separate parts, it was pretty much a mechanical process for me.

Once I joined all four parts it was like the a little glow of happiness. My month is coming up in November for this bee - and I'm excited to try out a few test blocks that include some of these softer prints!

Hurray for fun Swaps

Friday, September 10, 2010

IKEA inspiration

We all love going to IKEA - and luckily (or perhaps not) it is very close. I found some great inspiration there.....

This puff light fixture is FABULOUS and about 3 feet across. It makes cool shadows on the ceiling, too.

I actually brought these next two lamp shades home. But they were vetoed by everybody else in the house. So they ended up going back.

But wouldn't those be cool QAYG patterns!

As soon as Becket saw this mini apartment, he threw himself onto the bed and claimed he was going to live there. (And survive on their breakfasts and meatball lunch and dinners) He assigned me the tiny kid bed nearby.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Gifts for a Friend

The first day of school, our little group of friends gathered for lunch and a birthday celebration. Laura and most of her family love to cook, so I thought she would enjoy a couple fun potholders.

I followed Elizabeth's tutorial regarding the insides (two layers of batting and some canvas). I have insul-bright, but agree that the crinkly thing is pretty annoying. I tested it out on a pan that I had in a 400deg oven. It worked, but you wouldn't be able to hold the pan for more than a minute before you started to feel warm. Not bad, and much better than the nasty crinkles.

These came out like the runner I made recently. Orange/aqua for one and those fun birds on the other. (For my own reference, they're a little under 8.5" square - a good size for me) I backed both with a gray Ikea home dec print that I love. I think she really liked them!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Bee Fun

We're starting to get a routine going - hurray! It even includes exercising for myself. I'm starting to jiggle where I shouldn't. Next week Becket starts his school, so it will only get better.

For now, I wanted to make sure I finished up August's bee blocks.

Terri has us in the mood for fall with her string blocks.

And Erica had perfect timing when she asked for quilt as you go blocks. Her fabrics were so wonderful and I had been wanting to try out Penny's QAYG blocks for some time. It went quite well, but after only one block I had huge dust bunnies inside my machine.

Heather is hosting a second round quilt along for these blocks and as always, put a fun and funky twist on the whole thing. She mentioned backing each with muslin for some free motion fun. I think I'll try that if I go free motion or not, just to help keep down the crazy dust bunnies. I hate it when my machine goes cruuunch-gronck-schkkkkah.

And look at my pretty - PURPLE - flower. I can't believe I made a purple one, but it had to be done and I actually like it. That's one of the best things about quilting with friends. They make you step outside you favorite colors or blocks and try something fun!

Here's a little note for any of you out there that are pediatricians. Saying "This isn't anything to worry about, Mom. We'll just have the specialist check it out as a precaution." DOES NOT HELP. Moms will still spend all the days until said visit worrying, and perhaps an entire day before with a horrible head ache and on the verge of vomiting.

Thankfully it really was nothing, and the specialist said 'totally normal' after about two seconds.