Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thursday is a Jane Day

Another thursday, another block on my Dear Jane journey. Did I ever mention that I find this quilt particularly charming because Jane really is my middle name?
Anyway, this afternoon I worked on block D-4, Crystal Star. It didn't take me a long time to decide how to make this one - I paper pieced the sides with the triangles, mitering the corners onto the middle square. Then I added the smaller melons to the corners by appliqueing them. It looks very nice! Well, at the rate of 1 block a week it should take me about 3 years to finish! Oh well, that's not very long for a forever project.
I enjoyed quilting this afternoon, there were three of us. A little show and tell, and a lot of chatting. Great fun, and very motivating. We are going to have a challenge this fall. Four of us are going to exchange 5 inch batik squares and make a project. So, we will each have 100 batik squares each to make something out of. I think it will be fun to try (of course, I'm the girl who thinks every challenge is a fun time).
One wedding dress out the door today, and a new one coming in tomorrow, plus 6 men's shirts to finish. Lots of sewing this weekend for me, and hopefully a little quilting, just to keep me happy!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Paisley Joy

That baby quilt I made yesterday? Finished and off to a new owner tomorrow morning! That sure does great things for the blues, I would say. It gives me a very satisfied feeling, knowing that my quilt sold not even 12 hours after listing. I always hope to sell something that quickly, but this is the first time that has happened. It is a lovely quilt, and I'm sure will be much loved by the recipient.

This is the collection of odds and ends of rail fence blocks. I set them together to look like a weaving, then it was off to the fabric store in hopes of finding a fabric to tie up the pink, orange, blue and green. I was in luck and found this wonderful paisley in all the right colors. And it's just such a happy fabric, I went back and bought 2 more yards!

It needed a narrow border to separate the blocks from the final border, and a short search through my stash located 6 inches of a beautiful stripe, with all those colors in it, but a more pastel look. Just enough for a 1 inch inner border!
I quilted it in swirls and curves, then decided to prewash it to take away the flat look. I was thrilled when I pulled it out of the dryer, so soft and inviting. I went right outside to take pictures in the nice sunshine, the wind was a little trying, but I got some good photos. Uploaded the listing to Etsy before I went to bed, and when I woke up it was sold! I'm happy, proud of my work, and glad to see it off to a good home. Life is good!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Finished Quilt Blues

I'm feeling a little blue today, and I think it's because I finished a large quilt yesterday. It's very odd that finishing a project would make me feel sad, but it always happens. I guess it's because I enjoy my quilting so much and each quilt is like a part of me and when I finish I have to let them go (kind of like raising children) Luckily there is a cure, just start a new one!

This quilt was an alchemy project through Etsy. I had to finish quilting 5 1/2 blocks, quilt the borders and put a binding on. It was backed with a sheet so I thought the quilting would be a little more difficult, but it really wasn't so bad. The owner was a little embarassed by her beginning stitches, but I thought they were lovely, you know everyone begins somewhere, and I don't think any one should put down their first efforts at anything! Her piecing was very nice, and it's a great example of a sampler quilt.

I was happy to be a part of finishing up this project so it could be used instead of stored in a closet - I think quilts deserve to be finished and loved! Each one means something special and unique to its maker, and it really gives me great joy to be a part of such a project.

The owner chose to have me machine quilt the border, so I did it with diagonal lines, I always thing this looks nice, and gives th border a good weight so it hangs well on the bed. The binding was machine stitched, I found a nice blue to frame it well.

So, today I will work on a baby quilt to get me perked up a bit, then this afternoon I have a wedding dress to finish altering and a set of men't shirts to cut out and prep for a sewing marathon this week! Wish I could spend a week just quilting, but the shirts will buy the groceries, so I can't complain about that. At least I can spare a couple of hours a day to do what I love!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Making a Vegan Kindle Cover

I was approached through Etsy on Friday to make a cover for an electonic book (Kindle). The owner of the Kindle is a Vegan and does not want to use the leather cover it comes with, so I was asked to come up with a fabric version. After quite a bit of back and forth and looking on the internet, I decided this was something I could handle so I accepted her proposal. I spent a lovely afternoon sewing and imagining and thinking - here are the results:

The first thing I did was cut a piece of batting to what I thought would be the correct size and crazy piece the top with strips leftover from a vest I made. Lovely oriental with batiks in blue and gold. I added a white strip in order to personalize it as requested. Then I quilted it with a swirl and curve design, quilting in the words, Jeff's Kindle on the white strip - I loved how it came out, very striking! At that point I measured again, and realized I had forgotten to add in enough for the thickness of the kindle. So I had to add a piece for the spine.
The next step was figuring out the inside pocket and the little corner sections to hold the Kindle in place. I used a piece of wood to help me figure out the angles, so I hope this will hold it securely, but I won't know until they try it. Luckily I had a good picture to help me figure out how big to make the corner sections - I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it works all right! After thinking about it I just realized that I could have added elastic inserts inside to make them a little more secure, but maybe next time!
The final step was binding, and adding a loop for closure. I found a nice button in my stash, and just made a nice loop to pull to the top to fasten it. I'm very pleased with the results, as I hope my client will be!
So, I suppose that was my adventure for the day! Wonder what interesting project will turn up for tomorrow? I'm glad to be able to have these challenges instead of making the same thing over and over. I would be so bored doing that!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

It's true, you just never know what you are going to get! This week has been super busy, the fabric arrived for the jockey silks so I had a little over 24 hours to make them. I got two complete shirts done, and still have to do one more, but my husband was glad to have some to take with us. We went up to Auburn to watch McLaren work out, and it was fabulous! He did great, and we are really looking forward to participating in some races soon, and hopefully winning some purses and getting back some of our investment! Since I was tagged by Kym, I will count this as Random Fact #1 - We own a racehorse!

(Here are the rules if you are tagged "it":1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.)

#2 I was a teen-age bride - married my sweet-heart at 19 and we have been married for 28 years, have 5 daughters, and one adorable little grandson.

#3 I have been asked to be a quilt judge at a local fair this summer! I am alternately terrified and excited about this, but I think I will accept.

#4 I love chocolate. My current supply is Kisses with vanilla yogurt. Not too bad. I like the mint ones the best, but like to mix it up a little.

#5 I'm really getting tired of my long hair and plan on cutting it short within the next couple of weeks. I do that in cycles, cut it short, get tired of the maintenace, grow it long, get tired of dealing with all the shedding.... rinse and repeat!

#6 I have managed to collect the entire set of Miniature Quilt magazines! I spent way toomuch money on Ebay to do it, but it was fun, and kept me occupied for several months. It's funny because I'm really not that much into owning things, but I really wanted to have the whole set. Now, I have a bazillion miniature quilt patterns at my disposal.

#7 I procrastinate way too much, and spent the last two days finishing a baby quilt that I had over a month to work on. How silly is that?

Ok, now I've done that! Don't know who I'm going to tag yet, but I will be adding you to my list as I go - anyone out there want to be tagged, just let me know and I'll add you to my list!

Here are those lucky people I've tagged:

1. Precious Quilts
2. Sophie

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Stripping, Secrets and Becoming President

What a title! Bet a few of you have wandered in just because of that, but I hope you pause to look around a bit and see what I'm really up to!

Stripping is in reference to the Strip Robin project that I initiated at the quilt guild last fall. The basic idea was that we blow a picture up to at least 30 inches on one side, cut it into 5 strips, and pass the strips to the other participants to interpret in fabric. No rules, any and all techniques welcome as long as it's fabric. We had 8 people participate and when we finished up on Thursday night almost all the strips were complete, and the quilts were fabulous. Of course it was a rather busy night, so I do not have pictures of them, but I will be hunting them down and putting them up as I can. Mine came out fabulous. (It still has to be a secret for a short time, though, so you will have to wait to see it!)

The secret was the quilt we made for our out-going guild president. I was asked to quilt it, so I did, and this is the quilt. Some of us made hats and some of us made purses. I made a hat. Some of them were very heavily embellished.

Suzy was very happy with her quilt, and even happier I think to pass the gavel on to me. Yes, I am the incoming Coos Sand 'N Sea president. Heaven help us all. I'm going to have to be on time for meetings, stay late and supervise the clean-up, and hold the board meetings. I'm not sure about all of this, but at least I will try. What can I say. If I'm awful, they can always vote me out next spring! If I'm truly horrific, maybe they will let me out of it before that!!! My biggest worry is getting everyone to quiet down and listen while I'm talking. I'm not good at that. That's why I rarely helped in my daughters class-rooms, but would sign up to help the nurse with health screenings. I'm great one on one. Not so good as a leader. But it's time I did my part, and I will do my very best - no slacking off. At least I don't really have to do anything until August! So I have 2 months off before I start this grand adventure. Stay tuned for moaning and groaning, though I'm sure!

Enough of my presidential scandals - to the sewing room for me, lots of piles of stuff to deal with because I procrastinated and spent most of last week working on my strips - here is the evidence of my total immersion in my task:

Can you tell I was having a great time? This project really had me thinking in all kinds of new ways, and I truly had a great time. I can't wait to get another round started next fall. I'm on the lookout for a fun new picture to work on!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I Learned a New Skill!

Aside from sewing a lot of goodies for my Etsy shop, I have been working on PDF files for the patterns I have been writing. My biggest roadblock was in merging my cover and instructions so I just have one file instead of two, and I finally got it down today! I am thrilled that I can finally offer my patterns as a digital download!  I've also been tweaking some of my online info - I changed my email because my verizon e-mail seems to be a Canadian Pharmacy Spam Magnet! Yuck, but I always have to check all of those e-mails because it could be someone ordering a pattern. So I switched to a gmail account and we'll see if that helps.

Tada!  Now available in PDF (instant gratification - no waiting for the mail!)  Floral Irish Chain.  

Now, on to the sewing! I was looking for some beads, but instead found a large stack of rail fence blocks that I was saving to make baby quilts. Well, I had enough to make three different quilts! The first one is in greens and pinks. Very pretty, and best of all I was able to use a piece of yardage I've had for at least 15 years. It was just too cute to cut up, but it was perfect for the border of this sweet little baby quilt!

I found a pretty floral in my stash that was perfect for the back, and voila - a whole quilt out of stash fabric! Isn't that the best feeling ever... not only did I not buy anything to have fun creating this, but I also diminished some of my misc. extra fabric. I really love being able to make quilts out of my stash!

I quilted this with hearts (yeah, my trademark lopsided "is it a heart or a leaf?" heart!) and loops using a green variegated thread on the front and white on the back. And it came out great! The binding is one of the greens in the blocks.
Today I'm working on the blue quilt - definitely lots of blues in my stash, this one won't be much of a challenge to find the fabric for!