Tuesday, December 06, 2016

new and old WIPs

Well, I broke down and started a new quilt this week. I've been wanting to make this quilt for months. Lots of cutting, sewing and trimming happening over here....but, it's going to be worth it! I am already loving it.
This is so far out of my color comfort zone, but it's a nice change of pace. A lot of my friends (who gave me their scraps) like black and white and blue, apparently. I had plenty of gray and white. :)
When it's all said and done, there will be 585 HSTs in the quilt. That's not terrible, I guess....
And, because one can only make so many triangles in a few days....I switched back to quilting for a bit. This one is taking a long time to quilt, but I'm getting there! (You can see the quilt top here.) There will be plenty of opportunity to let go of my perfectionist tendencies in regards to the quilting. Wouldn't be the first time! Probably won't be the last, either. Finished is better than perfect, right?

How about you? What are you working on this week?

Friday, December 02, 2016

straighforward quilt top

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

This is such a busy time of year, isn't it? I feel like I am not getting anything done, but I actually am. The problem is that my "to-do" list is just ridiculous. Anyone else in the same boat? I don't know how to fix it, but at least I know what the problem is! That's half the battle, right?

Anyway, on to a few finishes.... :)
I finished a quilt top this week! I'm calling it the straightforward quilt. It's simple, quick, and it allows pretty fabric to shine. What else do you need? The rectangles are cut 3 1/2" x 9 1/2". I love this color combination! It feels great to be sewing up my stash! This will be a charity quilt for A Mother's Hope.
I also finished up a few more pincushions this morning. The tops were sitting on my sewing table for a few weeks now. It feels good to turn them into finished objects! Those little red circles are hand appliqued and rustic at best. After stitching this one, I threw out the remaining circles that I had been saving for years. There are plenty of other scraps to use! Ha! These pincushions are scrap project #188.

Moody lighting in the photos brought to you by the gloomy December weather. :)

Now, it's your turn! Do you have a finish to share today? If so, please link up. It's good to celebrate finishes! Thank you for joining me for finish it up Friday! Hope you have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

coffee ornament tutorial

I had a fun idea for a Christmas ornament for a friend who loves coffee. I drafted up a quick little pattern and I was delighted that it actually turned out. I can not tell you how much squealing I did as I was making this!!! Here's a little tutorial for you, so you can make a few, too!
Supplies needed:
PDF pattern pages
Scraps of fabric
4" x 5" piece of thin cotton batting
3 1/2" x 4 1/2" piece of fusible interfacing (Pellon SF101)
2" square of fusible web (Lite Steam-a-Seam 2 or something similar)
Coffee beans, polyester fiberfill, or a filling of your choice
Ribbon for the hanger
Invisible nylon thread
First, print off the pattern pages. Measure to make sure that the test box measures 1". (In your printer settings, make sure that the "Do Not Scale" button is selected.)
You may find it helpful to color in the sections of the paper pieced pattern to correspond to the fabrics you have selected, at least in sections A and B.
Paper piece sections A, B and C of the coffee cup pattern. Remove the paper backing from each section.
 Sew the 3 sections together with a 1/4" seam allowance. Press well.
Place the paper pieced cup right side up on to the piece of batting. (No backing is necessary at this time.)
Quilt the piece. Add as much (or little) quilting as you would like.
Select a fabric (preferably a solid fabric) for the initial and cut out a 2" square. Take the 2" square of fusible web and adhere it to the fabric according to package directions.
Decide which letter you would like to add to your ornament. Cut out the paper letter (which has already been reversed for you) and trace the letter to the paper backing of your fusible web.
Cut out the letter with a pair of sharp scissors or an X-acto knife. This is by far the hardest part of the whole project. The letters are tiny!
Remove the paper backing and fuse the letter to the ornament. Trim the piece down to 3 1/2" x 4 1/2". (Basically, you will just be cutting off the excess batting, but square up the piece if needed.)
Cut a 3 1/2" x 4 1/2" piece of fabric for the backing of the ornament. Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the backing fabric according to package directions.
Cut a 6" piece of ribbon and place it at the top of the ornament, pointing down, as shown.
Baste it in place with a few stitches 1/8" from the edge or less.
Place the quilted coffee cup piece and the backing piece right sides together. The ribbon should be tucked in between the layers. Pin or clip together. Sew around the perimeter of the ornament with a 1/4" seam allowance, leaving a 2-3" gap for turning. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.
Trim off the corners at a 45 degree angle, close to (but not through) the seam lines.
Turn the piece right side out and carefully use a knitting needle or the tip of a pair of scissors to fully turn out the corners. Press carefully with a warm iron.
Fill the inside with coffee beans, polyester fiberfill, or the stuffing of your choice. Hand stitch the opening closed with invisible nylon thread. This is the side I hand stitched closed! I love that it's nearly invisible. (Because my hand stitching isn't that neat! ha!)
Hang it on the tree or wrap it up and give to a friend! The finished ornament is 3" wide x 4" tall (without the hanger).

If you use this tutorial to make ornaments, I'd love to see them!

One disclaimer: I'm not sure how coffee bean filling will last over time. There may be natural oils in the beans that will eventually discolor the fabric, but I do love how it smells, so I took the risk. If you are concerned about this type of thing, I would suggest using a different filling.
Just to clarify....here are a few words on the difference between fusible interfacing and fusible web. These are my user-friendly, not so technical definitions: :)

Fusible web is sticky on two sides and it is used for adhering two fabrics together. I've used a few different types, but I love the Lite Steam-a-Seam products. They are easy to use and the paper backing usually comes off without incident. Wonder Under is another product that is similar, but it's not my favorite. Some fusible web products are suitable for sewing through and some are not. Be sure to read the labels and instructions that come with the product.

Fusible interfacing has adhesive (which is heat activated) on one side and it is used to give stability to your fabric. I LOVE Pellon SF101. In fact, I buy it by the bolt when I have a good coupon or when it is on sale. :) It is woven on one side, which means that it is soft and flexible, even after it is applied to your fabric. It's not crispy at all and it is super easy to use!  It's not heavy enough for all interfacing situations, but it is great for backing pincushions, ornaments, the insides of quilted zip pouches or bags, and so much more. I have no affiliation whatsoever, it's just one of my favorite products! :)

Monday, November 28, 2016

denim scrappy goodness

The wonderful thing about having multiple projects going at once is that you can (almost always) find something to finish in a short time frame. We had company over for most of the holiday weekend, but I did find a few minutes to finish up this pillow cover anyway. It's made from denim and tiny scraps that I just couldn't bear to part with. I love how it turned out!!!!
I used an envelope backing, so the cover is removable and washable. Envelope backings are so easy! I like to make my own pillow forms so that they are filled to my liking. I might be a little particular about my pillows. Hahaha! The pillow cover and the pillow form are both about 24" square. This is scrap project #187!

(The backing is good neighbors fabric, which happens to be on sale! :))
I had a few leftovers after making the pillow top, so I turned them into a thread catcher! It was better than throwing the leftovers away, or finding a place to store them. This is scrap project #188!  

I do love a good two-for-one project, don't you?

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, November 25, 2016

getting cozy!

Welcome to finish it up Friday! I hope you are having a happy Thanksgiving week!
I finished another pair of socks! These were knit especially for my friend Mary. The yarn is from Lush Knit, and the colorway is called "Life on Mars?" They were delightful to knit up. This is my 19th pair of hand made socks that I have finished to date!
I don't usually post home projects here (probably because I don't do a lot of home projects anymore---hahaha!) but this one was so satisfying! Several weeks ago my husband and I went to IKEA and we purchased these shelves (Knoppang picture ledges) with the intention of organizing my spices, but life got busy and the shelves sat in the corner behind the door. Normally, my husband would be the installer, but this task has never got very high on his list. (I can't blame him!) This week I decided to install them myself. I am glad that I was successful! This was formerly dead space behind my laundry room door, but now it's a lovely spice tower. It was SO NICE to have this done before cooking Thanksgiving dinner!!!
Since we hosted Thanksgiving this year, I made sure to have plenty of projects to work on while visiting with family. (Between rounds of cooking, that is!) In progress: crochet rag rug, crochet dishcloth, Maine morning mitts, and my "dot your i's quilt" (hand quilting in progress).
And everything seemed extra cozy because of our beautiful snowfall this week. I spent a lot of time staring out my window!

I hope those of you who celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday had a lovely and safe holiday!

Now, it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

compass bag

I'm not normally a bag maker, but I do love carrying a handmade bag, so once in awhile I make an exception. :) This pattern is called the Compass Bag, by the amazing and talented Anna of Noodlehead. It's a very detailed and well written pattern--I was impressed! I started the bag on Saturday, took Sunday off, and finished it on Monday.
There was a lot of cutting right off the bat, and there are a lot of steps involved in the construction, but it's broken down into bite sized pieces, which makes it much less intimidating.  It was my first time using rivets, which add a nice finish to the exterior pockets. I pulled out a lot of tools for this one! It was fun!
I love the finished details on this bag. All the hardware (not to mention the zippered pocket) make it look so polished!
The pattern has a lot of room for customization: two size options, two strap options and two exterior pocket options. This is the large size with an adjustable strap and slip pockets.
The exterior print is a Japanese fabric I picked up on clearance at Bear Patch Quilting about a year ago. The accent and interior fabric is Sketch Screen by Timeless Treasures. Hardware was purchased at Hobby Lobby.

I can see this bag getting a LOT of use!

Monday, November 21, 2016

pincushion pattern winners

Thanks for all your lovely comments on the pincushion pattern giveaway. I loved reading about your quilting friends! The winners are: NicoleJackie Papallo, Judi, and artsycraftsyivy. Check your email inboxes. :) Thanks to everyone for playing along!

Friday, November 18, 2016


Welcome to finish it up Friday!

It's been another busy week, but I have some small finishes to share today. Small, but pretty darn cute!
I made these pincushions as samples for my local quilt shop. All 4 of these designs are in my pattern Plenty of Pincushions, Volume 1. I had to make new pincushions because I couldn't bear to part with the originals. Turns out these won't be easy to part with, either, even if it is only for a time! :) These are scrap project #186!
I decided yesterday that I'm going to try to make an entire quilt out of those little sailboats (top left). It's going on my bucket list!!! Each little individual square finishes at 1". It'll probably take me a lifetime to make the quilt....or, it'll end up as a mini or pillow cover. Hahaha! But seriously, can you imagine??? It's going to be epic!
One more finish....this may only be exciting to me, but I finally have my pincushion patterns in print! (Thus the need for the shop samples.) These are only available as wholesale right now, for local quilt shops to purchase, but getting a pattern to this point takes a long time, so it's definitely worth celebrating! Woohoo!

Because I think EVERYONE needs more pincushions in their life, I'd like to do a little giveaway. This giveaway will be for you AND a friend. Each of you will win a copy of the pattern! If you would like to be entered in the drawing, please leave a comment in this post. I'd love to hear a little bit about your friend/friendship and why you chose them for the drawing. I'll pick a winner in a few days! Please, leave your email address in the comment, so I have a way of contacting you.

edited to add: the giveaway is now closed. winners have been notified via email.

Ok, now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

WIP Wednesday

There are never a shortage of projects to work on around here, but I guess that's a good thing. I will never be bored....like, ever again. Ha!
This is a project I've been working on in little bits over the past few weeks. It's going to be a pillow cover. I combined the strips of scraps with strips of denim. I love the contrast and how the colors pop against the dark background. The dark background is also practical for a house with kids. :)
This quilt has been basted for weeks and I'm finally starting to quilt it. This one has high texture potential. The background is Essex Linen (in Flax) and the solids are Oakshott cottons. I love the combination. The squared off stippling is out of my box (hahaha!) so I have to really concentrate when I'm quilting it. (My shoulders are pretty sore, but I know that it will be worth it!) This is a twin size, so I'll break up the quilting over a few days.
I'm making progress on hand quilting my "dot your i's" quilt, too. I'm on the last step, which is quilting just inside each of the circles. I've already quilted the entire background (I stitched in the ditch) and the binding is already done, too. I hope to make good progress on the hand quilting over the holidays. It will be soooo great to have this one complete!
How about you? What are you working on this week? I'd love to hear about your projects!

Friday, November 11, 2016

brushstrokes quilt complete

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
I managed to finish my brushstrokes quilt this week, which means that I'm back down to 10 WIPs. Hurray! I'm trying to keep that number down, even though I want to start ALL the things, ALL the time!
Loopy quilting was an easy and quick choice for this quilt. Since I quilted my last quilt with this same pattern, it was super easy--I was still in the groove! I made the loops nice and big so there is uniform quilting throughout the entire quilt. I did mark lines (with my wonderful hera marker) half way through each line of patchwork to keep me on track. It worked like a charm!
I've been enjoying using solids on the backs of my quilts lately. There is no repeat to line up (yay!) and the quilting is very visible. I love that! For this backing I used two different bright pinks from my stash (although they are so similar to one another that you really can't tell) along with a strip of leftover fabrics from the front. Making do with what you have on hand is always satisfying. At least it is to me. :)
I finished off the quilt with a gray good neighbors print for binding.
I love how it turned out! It measures about 56" x 72" and it's my 18th quilt finish for the year! This one will be headed to A Mother's Hope program.

Now, it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Friday, November 04, 2016

brushstrokes quilt top

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I managed to complete another quilt top this week! Hurray!
I selected this bundle of fabric several weeks ago as a part of my mighty lucky challenge on effective fabric selection. I will admit, it's an unlikely combination of fabrics. It's definitely out of my box. I was anxious to cut it up and sew it all back together, just to see what would happen.
Once I got into the project, I was pleased to see that all the colors and patterns worked well together. I was especially delighted with the pops of yellow in the mix. In fact, I ended up cutting additional yellow squares a few different times, because I really liked what they added.
Yesterday when I completed the quilt top, I held it up and I thought, "geez, this quilt is really long!" After some calculating, I realized that I had made the quilt 18 rows long rather than 15 rows long.  Doh! My quilt top was 12" too long!!!
To fix it, I decided to add two more columns to the quilt, one on each side. Math mishaps happen. Haha! I just had to laugh at myself!!! It's a good thing I had plenty of extra fabric to round things out. :)
Now the quilt top measures 56" x 72", which is much more proportionate! I'm looking forward to quilting this one up!
(Fabrics are Brushstrokes by Holly DeGroot for Cloud 9, plus an assortment of fabrics from my stash.)
How about you? Do you have a finish to share this week? If so, please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday!