Friday, January 20, 2017

January Finish 2: E's nap quilt

Last year a friend came by and in our conversation, she mentioned a quilt she loved--and that she would buy one like it if I would make her one. Sometimes I am a little slow, but slowly this sank into my brain and I figured out I should make her a quilt.

Her inspiration quilt was Denyse Schmidt's Hop, Skip, Jump pattern from her book Denyse Schmidt Quilts. Her pattern used a template to cut out everything and then put them into blocks. A couple of years ago I made this quilt for a student I mentored, and while it is a similar look (depending how you make your cuts), it was a much simpler, improve method of construction. So I did that instead,

I did work to make my cuts more like those on Denyse Schmidt's quilt, less angular than my previous quilt.

As I worked on the front and was getting closer to finishing it, I started thinking hard about the backing. I really wanted to use what I had already, if I could make it work. I had a lot of white fabrics with red print, most of which were leftovers from other quilt backings. After I finished the top and knew what size I needed, I played around with them and (after adding a strip of red) came up with this:

I did regret the strip of red fabric, which I also used for the binding after I washed it and had red splotches to deal with. Thankfully after washing it a few more times, all was well.

And now I'm off to go finish another one while the sun is shining in my sewing room!

Friday, January 13, 2017

when it was warmer

I'm working on a red and white quilt for a friend but don't have a finish for today, at least not yet, so it's time to post the pictures of a little trip we took out of town before school started this semester. When it was much warmer and friendlier outside.

We visited the Chickasaw National Recreation Park, which is about a mile south of us in Sulphur. It's also a frequent choice for our camping trips since it is fairly close. It makes it easy to get there without spending all day in the car--and easy to come home if there are no camping spots available. This trip was more about hiking though, and just being outside. My daughter was able to bring a friend which I know she loved after being away from friends for most of break.

Last time my son was here was for a cross country practice, and was a practice where his group got a bit lost and ended up running 6 miles. While we drove around after the hike, he showed me where all they went--which was pretty much everywhere in the park. And because we were driving around to see where all we went (and to remind the kids of our last camping spot there), we also saw a couple of deer!

Also nearby is the Chickasaw Cultural Center, but we really didn't have time and the outdoor part wasn't open, so we stopped at the Bedre chocolate factory instead and then headed back home. Because all hikes should end with a bit of chocolate.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

first quilt of 2017

As expected, the warm weather last week slowed down my quilt finish. We spent time outside and even made a trip out of town for a bit of hiking and just being out of town time (pictures to come soon). Off and on though I did work on the t-shirt quilt and finally finished it up Monday, after a trip to visit these guys:

One of our family presents this year was a family season pass, so we will be visiting them lots!

I came home, added the binding, then tossed the quilt into the wash. Then got to touch up the binding. Not doing so well on those lately so I guess that can be something to work on for the new year.

Now it is cold again so I wanted to find an indoor spot for the photos. The t-shirts are all softball themed so I decided to bring it along with me to the gym this morning to stay with the athletic theme.

LOTS of softball shirts. I had one more row along the bottom but discovered that made a quilt longer than packaged quilt batting so I pulled that row off and used it for the back, along with a neutral gray I hoped would go well with such a variety of shirts.

Glad to have a new finish for the year and excited about some more quilts on the list (and in piles ready to go in my sewing room).

Thursday, December 22, 2016

dreaming of spring

It has been so cold but we had a bit of break from it yesterday, with sunshine and temperatures in the 60's. I always notice on those days--or when spring finally arrives again--that I feel like I have been hunched up and can finally relax again. We stayed outside most of the afternoon. Just in time for that brief reminder of spring, I finished a little quilt full of spring colors in the morning.

During Thanksgiving sales I bought a charm pack of Vintage Daydreams and with it a free Deal of the Day charm pack of white squares from Missouri Quilt Company. I decided to try out one of my designs from the October design challenge.

With the 2 charm packs, I ended up with enough for this design plus on more row. I quartered the 5" squares and then made 16 patch blocks. After I finished all those and squared them up a bit, I paired it with a white square the same size (I'm thinking it was around 8 1/4" or so), drew a diagonal line and then sewed a seam a 1/4" on either side to make half square triangles. Four of those were sewn into the large pinwheel and then pieced into rows and then the top, with the extra HST added along the bottom. I thought about making a pinwheel with them and using on the back, but that still would have left two. I was also planning to use flannel on the back and don't like mixing flannel with standard quilting cotton.

This should be my last quilt finish of the year, unless I get snowed in next week and finish up the t-shirt quilt I've started.  Thankfully those sort of temperatures aren't in the forecast yet!

Thursday, December 8, 2016


This quilt has been in the planning stages for a while, as it was specifically for one of my friends. Pieces were cut to size. And it sat in a bin. At the beginning of this month though I decided to shift it from a birthday present to a Christmas present, and then panicked a bit. The pattern I used was called a quick herringbone quilt and thankfully it really was, even with me multiplying the size to make a throw for a grown up rather than a baby.

It was fun to put this one together. The main fabric I started with was the Mendocino mermaid, adding a lot of other favorites (and a few random ones that showed up in a mystery bag order). It was as easy as a standard patchwork but looks way more interesting.

After I pieced the top I realized I hadn't planned a backing yet and didn't see anything on my shelf that would work. I also noticed the shelf was a mess though, and after a break to reorganize the larger pieces, I found a flannel for the back!

This was quilt 5 of my planned finishes for Q4. It has now been given away, and with the recent drop in temperatures, it got used immediately.  So far that is the one thing I like about this sudden cold weather. I can use my quilts. All of them, layered up deep.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Smaller projects

Not only did I try a few smaller quilts for a break, but I also tried sewing something completely different--pouches. These seemed like a great gift as well as a fast way to use up some fabric. After commenting on pouches in a previous post, a reader commented and sent me some links for two styles of pouches. I love free tutorials!

After buying a bunch of zippers, I started with the one that seemed easiest and designated this first pouch for my daughter. The tutorial for this one was for Noodlehead's open wide zippered pouch.

I used the interfacing I had on hand, the lightweight kind I use for backing t-shirts for quilts. After this pouch, I decided to go buy a bit of the kind recommended on the tutorial, hoping for something a little less floppy. I made some adjustment on the zipper install after this one as well, looking more closely at the tutorial instructions and pics.

I started in on the next set. These are the three that have been given away already.
I used a contrasting fabric for the lining and zipper pull end for each of them--didn't like that picture of gaping open pouches.

Then I tried the other tutorial. It was a bit of a different style of pouch, and I like this one because it used up smaller scraps. Both styles could, perhaps some rows of patchwork, but this pouch would use up lots of random bits. This pouch used the Pink Stitches Boxy Pouch tutorial. And as in the last set, the first try was for my daughter:
The lining is the same fabric as the handle. I plan to make one of these for myself, and maybe one more as a gift (not Christmas).

These were a great break from quilts and a great way to use up fabric scraps, both little bits and the larger pieces, while still making something useful. The boxy pouch also uses up those scraps of batting which also seem to multiple in the cabinet!

 . . . and then of course I turned around and made a quilt, but that is for another post.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

brownie - another little November quilt

With some of the last bits of brown in the scrap bin, I pieced together some rail fence blocks. Little ones, maybe 3-1/2". At first I ended to do something else with them, like maybe a larger sawtooth star block, but in the end I stuck with the brown rail fence blocks all lined up in alternating alignment. I think I finished it up last weekend. The last three days are a bit of a blur with church/work events so I know it was before then.

It ended up at about 19" x 25" after washing. I was able to use even more of the brown scraps for the binding, and was super glad I hadn't cut everything up in little strips for the blocks! I am not so found of brown but I think it ended up cute. To keep with the neutrals, I used a couple of fabrics that I've had forever in my bin for the back. I separated them with a cream polka dot, but as I look at it now I would probably make a different choice if I were to start over.

Next up are a few little pouches and probably a lot of "therapy" sewing to decompress from the last three days! And that whole holiday thing. Happy thanksgiving!