Friday, December 30, 2011

Homemade Holidays (Part 2)

The other big finish for my Christmas gifts was the quilt I made for my mom.  Yellow is her favorite color and last year around November she mentioned to me how much she liked the Origins fabric line.  I ordered what I needed to make a quilt for her thinking maybe I would do it for her birthday in January.  Well then I saw this quilt and I thought it was amazing.  I emailed Kati and asked her how she did it and she told me she was writing a tutorial for her blog.  So I showed my mom two options and asked which she liked better.  Months later when I was ready to make the quilt she couldn't remember which she had chosen so I opted not to post about it here.  Of course those of you who are on flickr have seen the finished top before it was quilted.

I used Kati's tutorial which was so well written it couldn't have been any easier to make this quilt.  I used Kona Maize for the solid in place of white to give it more of a yellow factor.  I am a side seam presser and I figured out very quickly that if I ironed all of my seams towards the yellow on one side of the block and the patterned fabric on the other that I would have no troubles matching and locking my seams.  It made this quilt top come together very quickly.  And then of course I stalled.  Since I had ordered my fabrics based on the measurements of the other quilt I had to think about how to piece the back.  Once I figured it out I made a cutting mistake and then ended up needing to add a piece to the side of the back to make it large enough.  It worked out and hopefully no one but me would know this wasn't the plan for the back.  Sorry I didn't get a good picture of that.

I knew I wanted to have this one quilted on a long arm with a rose pattern since roses are my mom's favorite flower (yellow roses to be exact) so when I saw Nichol's post saying she was still taking quilts in time for Christmas I sent her an email.  Have you seen Nichol's work?  I know she is relatively knew to long arm quilting but she did an amazing job.  And get this, she even listened to what color thread I asked her to quilt it with.  You can see what Nichol had to say about my mom's quilt here.

All in all I am very happy with my mom's quilt and I hope she is too.  She texted me after on Christmas to ask me how I made her quilt smell so good so I thought I would share my secret with all of you too.  I used Downy Unstoppables in the wash with my quilts.  They are pretty pricey so I only get them when I have coupons and I only use them in loads like my sheets, towels, and quilts but they make the laundry smell fresh for a lot longer and really is there anything better than snuggling under a great smelling quilt on a cold day.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Homemade Holidays (Part 1)

Just in case you thought I forgot to share all of those holiday projects I has been working on here is the first part.  I bet you thought I was all talk back in August when I shared my plans to make Vanilla Extract as Christmas gifts but I actually did it.  It's so simple and it was a huge hit with the husbands family.  It made great last minute gifts for a few people I hadn't planed to gift give with but who I knew would be at family events and would be bringing gifts.  I actually received a cookbook wrapped in a kitchen towel with a cookie cutter holding it shut and thought that was so nifty I implemented the idea myself the next day with a bottle of vanilla inside.

I made the labels on my home computer and just printed them off on Avery Labels.  It was simple enough and the overall look though not everything I had hoped for turned out well enough I guess.  I hope that doesn't sound like too much of a cop out but the truth is I was sick right before Christmas and even bailed out on some family functions just to make sure I had enough energy to make it through the BIG day.

UNC Quilt
My big surprise present this year was a quilt for the husband.  See we aren't big on sports in our house but we both really enjoy college basketball for some reason.  I don't really know why I like it because being in the Marching Band in High School I always went to football games but it worked out that way and the fact that we both like UNC (University of North Carolina) is an added bonus.  So my husband wanted me to make him a quilt with all of his UNC t-shirts, he has a ton of them, even though he never went to school there.  I gathered them up and started making a plan which quickly fell by the wayside.  Then way back last August 2010 when it was my turn to send fabric in the Circuit Bee I sent out fabrics and asked for blocks inspired by this quilt.  It was a difficult task to say the least, using collegiate fabrics and making minimalist blocks at the same time but the ladies really pulled through for me.

It turned out better than I could have imagined.

I went to my mom's for a day of sewing and got the top and backing put together with the help of my mom.  Thanks again mom!  The finished quilt is about 44" wide by 68" long, it still amazes me how much they seem to shrink.  This one especially but I think that may have to do with the fabrics and knowing I didn't prewash them I can't complain.  I knew I wanted to have it quilted with something Tarheel related but not over the top.  I took it to a long arm quilter here locally because I was pressed for time.  Remember when I said I would never use this person again?  Turns out I did and now I really mean it!  It's not that I don't like the quilting I do and she was even nice enough to order the foot design special for me.  But sometimes it's the little things, like the fact I asked for it to be quilted in white that didn't happen obviously, but I do like it.  And there are some rather large spaces that don't have quilting if you ask me.  In the end I love the way it turned out though so I really shouldn't complain.

One of my favorite blocks.  I can't believe how she made the symbol and everything.
My mom was nice enough to sew the binding on for me so I could keep it a secret.  And it was right up until we were about 1/2 way through opening presents on Christmas Eve with my side of the family.  The hubs admitted that he assumed since my mom received a quilt for Christmas (look for part ii for that quilt) that was the only one I was making.  He later admitted to me that after she opened it and my dad told him maybe next year he had the feeling his UNC quilt was in one of the boxes beside him yet to be opened.  Not too bad for a surprise present.  I say he didn't really know and doesn't want to admit I managed to surprise him.  Although for the life of me I don't know how I pulled it off because I am terrible with surprises and I almost told him about things that happened along the way about 100 times.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Step 1: Just Sew Something

After setting such a lofty goal for 2012 I knew that if I dragged my feet I would never be able to accomplish 12 quilts in only 12 short months.  So after giving Bertha a good cleaning and a fresh needle I changed the blades in my rotary cutters and got down to business.  Since I have almost everything I need for Sunny Trails and the pieces are small enough to cut in my tiny sewing space I thought I would start there.  For this quilt I am following Corey's Moda Bake Shop Tutorial.  So far things are going well.  I did a little rework of the math since Corey advised she had a lot of extra pieces left over.  After I took out the solids and duplicates as Corey suggested I had the same 37 layer cake squares left.  From this I figured out that I could cut three 2" by 10" inch strips from 18 of the squares and four 2" by 10" strips from the remaining 19 squares.  This left me with a larger piece left from some of the squares which I plan to incorporate into the back of this quilt. 

All of the pairs sewn together and cut back down.  Now time to sew the four patches.

I knew I wanted all of my words to go in the same direction so I took special care when sewing together the pairs and then separated out all of the pairs with words when cutting down the strips.  The next step is to sew all of the pairs into four patches which is where I am now.  I had to order some Bella White since none of the local stores carry Moda.  So once I get my four patches and sixteen patches done I will be putting this project on hold for just a little while until the White fabric arrives but have no fear I have Farmer's Wife Blocks to make to get back on track and ready to start with the group again at the end of January.  That means lots of sewing and lots of projects to share.

Almost done making four patches.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The List

I know I'm not the only one making list and thinking about crafty goals for 2012.  I'm interested to hear what you guys have in mind for the upcoming year.  My personal goal is to make 12 quilts in 2012.  It just seems like the thing to do, right?  Well I was sharing this with my mom and I think she thought I was a little bit crazy.  But she must have at least half believed me because she did sign up for 12 slots with the long arm quilter (we share) but that really got me thinking could I really do it?  could I afford to do it?  what about the fact I can't commit to a project?  what about all the new quilt alongs in 2012?  what about all the new inspiration?  what would I do with 12 more quilts?  So I made a list to help get me started on the right track.  Of course this list will be subject to change but you know what the heck I can put a rough draft of the list out here just to give you and idea, right.

  1. Twisted Fandango- Remember these post.  Well I have everything I need to finish this quilt.  Reality is I'm just working on getting the boarders sewn on and then I'll have a finished quilt top.  I have my backing and binding already so this should be a pretty easy finish if I can just pick it up and then stay on task.
  2. Sunny Trails-When Corey first introduced this quilt on Moda Bake Shop I knew I had to make it and I had been waiting for the perfect project to make with Sunkissed.  I ordered all the materials then and it has been sitting waiting for it's chance at the machine.
  3. Swell-I was telling Mary (my online buddy) once about how much I liked swell and how I had gotten on board too late to find any.  Well she tracked down a Jelly Roll and sent it to me and then with the help of another online friend and a swap I now have everything I need to make this quilt.  Right now I am leaning towards a quilt from Camille's Book.
  4. Farmer's Wife Quilt Along-This quilt along is on holiday right now but when we pick back up the end of January we will be at the half way point.  If I can stay on track or make up a few extra blocks between now and then I should finish in plenty of time to call this one a finish in 2012.  I am still really excited about this quilt and how it will turn out.
  5. Anchors Away-Yes the Neptune Quilt.  It scares me a little because the fabric is out of print, it's hard to find, and I have just enough to make this quilt.  It also involves circles and applique neither of which I am happy about but I find that after spending a year on the hunt for everything I need to make this quilt that it has to happen!  Lucky for me my dad has volunteered to help with the cutting.  He might say he was volunteered but either way I'm happy to have him on board for this project.
  6. Loulouthi Tiles-Rachel hosted this quilt on her blog and I loved it.  My parents got me the kit for my birthday back in October (thanks again Mom and Dad) and my dad helped me cut it all out.  I will admit it is a little tricky to get those large tiles cut out, luckily there is enough room in the fabric provided in the kits.  I still need to cut my sashing for this one before I can get started on it but I think it will be another fun quilt to put together.
  7. Swoon-Santa (or rather my amazing parents) brought me the swoon quilt kit for Christmas this year.  I love the Ruby fabric and the pattern for this one and I am excited to put it together.  I've seen tons of these quilts in blog land made from all sorts of different fabrics and I am excited about having the chance to make one of my own.
  8. Multicolored Stars-One of the bees I participated in (and hosted) back in 2010 made these amazing blocks for me and I have yet to put together the quilt top.  The truth is I'm not really sure how I want it to go together and I am at a total loss for quilting it so it has been sitting in my sewing room for a long time.  I am committed to seeing it finished in 2012 it deserves a chance to sparkle.
  9. Summer Sampler Quilt Along-This is one of those projects I was late getting started on.  I really wanted to participate but I didn't have what I needed.  Then one of my amazing blog friends hooked me up with this amazing kit to get started.  I jumped in right away and finished the first 3 blocks, then we got to paper piecing.  I've mentioned before I am no good at this.  I really wish I had it in me but I get it all wrong all the time.  So I stalled but I would really like to see this one finished up.
  10. Max and Whiskers-This one may be a little bit of a cheater since this quilt is finished and back from being quilted but it still needs binding so technically speaking it isn't finished just yet.  Hopefully those stitches will wait another week or so.  This one may also be a little bit of a cheat because it is one that my mom and I made together.  So I only 1/2 made it.  Do you think that counts?
  11. Postcards-When Ashley first made this quilt I loved it and I wanted to make one for myself.  I thought that Joel Dewberry's Modern Meadow line (that's how long I've been planning) teamed up with gray for the "grout" would look great.  I've had the bricks cut out for a long time but have yet to get sashing and make this quilt top.
  12. Dueling Flurry-My husband and I have matching Christmas Quilts that my mom and I made.  I thought she and I were going to have quilts made to match but in the end she gifted hers to me and now the hubs has mine.  This year we decided to make matching quilts for my brother and SIL.  I'm going to call this dueling flurry for now because I will be making one and so will my mom.  Hopefully they will like them both.
  13. Just in case you guys rule out the Max and Whiskers quilt I'll give you a bakers dozen.  Spring Weekends-This quilt top is all put together and about 1/2 quilted.  I just need to order more yellow thread to see this one completed.  Funny how it would be so easy and yet I still procrastinate.
So there you have it a tentative list of hopeful quilts for 2012.  But reality is I have a ton of things in my sewing room I still didn't mention.  Like my chasing chevrons quilt and a few other quilts tops that are hanging in my closet waiting to be quilted.  Then of course there are things like quilt alongs.  Have you seen the one coming up in January.  I'm thinking of making that in child size to either donate in 2012 or have on standby for one of the babies I know that are coming soon :)

Stay tuned because I have plenty of Christmas projects to show you in the next week or so and then hopefully we will be spending more time together in 2012 learning new things and accomplishing new goals together.  So go ahead throw it out there.  What are your quilting plans for 2012?  I'd love to hear all about them.  Who knows you might just throw my list completely off track :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sometimes It's Just Hard

I've been meaning to update my blog for a while in fact I have even sat down and started writing out blog post only to leave them unattended until they are no longer relevant.  Things here have just been hard lately.  It doesn't seem possible that Christmas is just a few short days away.  Don't panic it's not here yet but I am sure I will be putting the finishing touches on presents on Christmas Eve.  A few of those gifts are actually surprise gifts that I am very excited to be gifting.  Not that I don't always put a lot of thought into my gift giving but this year there are a few that are pretty sentimental and I'm hoping the recipients will love them as much as I do.  Plus this is the first Christmas with my nephew so I am super excited to see the joy through a little ones eyes this year.

This is what my tree currently looks like, it's only about 1/2 decorate because I just wasn't really feeling it this year.  Like I said it's been hard.  I had the tree about 1/4 of the way done when we had to take our bulldog to the emergency vet.  Unfortunately she never got to come home with us and so like I said it's been hard around here lately.  After that I managed to get enough ornaments on the tree for it to not look too sad and I've managed to wrap the two gifts you see there.  I guess I better get busy and wrap some more since Christmas is almost here.

Denali Snowberry Boyd July 21, 2005-December 5, 2011
I have been making some progress on a few projects.  I started slowly sewing together my hexagon charm quilt.  I decided to just go with an all over scrappy look.  It's very slow going and I'm not very good at it so I'm just hoping and praying the darn thing will stay together when it's finished.

Hexagon Quilt
I also managed to make a few of the blocks for my chasing chevrons quilt along quilt.  The quilt along is actually wrapping up but I'm still working away at it making blocks.  I've been sidetracked some by projects I can't share here just yet but as soon as the presents are opened I promise to write about them here.

Chasing Chevrons

Wishing you and yours a very