Showing posts with label project linus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label project linus. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

back, with a finish

I know! It's been forever! I have been doing a little bit of sewing this summer, and here's a recent 'big finish'.

I've been a member of the do. Good Stitches bee for the last 9 months or so, and have been having fun being a stitcher, making blocks for the Faith circle. A couple months ago, I also joined the Inspire circle (making quilts for my favorite charity - Project Linus), but this time as a quilter. Being a quilter means you get to choose a design, collect the blocks and assemble the quilt. My month was May, and I chose this beautiful quilt by Amy of Diary of a Quilter as my inspiration:

To make up for all the girly and toddler quilts I usually make for Project Linus, I wanted to make something for an older boy. I asked for blue and brown square-in-square blocks, with a touch or green and gray. They were to be either 12.5" or 6.5" square, or a mix of the two sizes. The members of my group made some really wonderful squares for me! To make it a larger quilt (those teen boys are big!), I made the equivalent of 7 more blocks (though most of them were 6.5" blocks, so let's say 2 big blocks, and 20 small ones). The final dimensions were about 54" by 72". It was pretty addictive to go through my scraps and stash, and to use fabrics I wouldn't normally pick out or put together. What a great stash-buster project!

As you can see, my layout is a lot more regular than Amy's was. I tried to do a random layout, but I just couldn't get it to look right! So, I gave up, and went for a more regular one. With all the variety in the blocks, it still looks pretty random! Many thanks go to Chara for helping me with the layout!

For the back, I used a large piece of this fantastic Katie Jump Rope fabric. I had picked it up at a Project Linus meeting, long before I planned this quilt. It was perfect! I bordered it with a medium gray - it doesn't quite match the lighter gray in the KJR fabric, but close enough!

I based the quilting on the diagonal print of the KJR print. After basting (using spray basting, as usual!) I took a kid's washable marker, and used a ruler to extend the diagonal lines into the border fabric. After that, I quilted it from behind. I've used this technique before, and I highly recommend it. It's super quick, and looks great from the front.

Sorry these photos kinda suck - I finished the quilt the morning of our monthly meeting, and was in a rush to get the photos taken so I could run off to donate it!

I wanted to do something special for the label, more than just the standard tag. The text reads "This quilt was stitched with lots of love, especially for you, by the members of the "Inspire" circle of the "do. Good Stitches" bee on, May 2011. We hope it keeps you cozy!"

I'm also pretty darn proud of myself for finishing it on time - the bee rules say you should finish the quilt within 30 days of receiving all the blocks. I think I got my last block in the middle of June, and the quilt was donated on July 10. Yay for me!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

the winner, and another strippie

The lucky winner of the pink charm squares is #40, and that's Sue of Sue's Quilting Haven. Looks like she's been having quite the winning streak lately! I was pleased to see the Project Linus badge on her blog - it's always nice to meet another 'blanketeer'!

And speaking of which (and just so I don't have a post without pictures!) here's my latest PL donation quilt, which I finished last month. It's the second 'baste as you go' quilt that I started back in July. I wish I had paid attention to the repeat on the focus fabric when I put it together, but it's hard to see the overall pattern until you step away from the quilt. Oh well! I'll know to keep an eye out for that next time.

This is the fifth Quick Strippie quilt I've made, and I have 4 more in the works (they're on the big list!). They are just so easy to make!

And of course, my usual big crazy patchwork backing. Also fun and easy to make, and a great use for random scraps of novelty fabrics!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

still here...

Yes, I'm still here. Sorry for the incredibly long absence... I had a big work deadline this week, which slowly ramped up the pressure over the last month or so. On top of that, there were bouts of sickness, snow days, holidays, birthdays, feeble attempts to get ready for xmas... Blech. I know I should love this time of year, but I honestly don't.

And I know it doesn't take long to make a blog post, but... I'm also utterly behind on reading blogs. My reader had been pegged at 1000+ for weeks now!! I somehow feel wrong to post when I haven't caught up on all my friends' blogs (or even worse, emails). So, friends, please forgive me for not having my act together. I'm working on it. And if you soon get some comments on really old blog posts of yours, you'll know why!

Meanwhile, here's a little show and tell from last month. I finally finished the Project Linus quilt I started way back in July!

The standard crazy patchwork back...

I did all the quilting at the November PL meeting (killing two birds with one stone!), and it was pretty interesting to do the quilting in front of a room full of people. I was surprised that so many of them had never done free-motion quilting! I'm no expert, but I did my best to demonstrate, and answered lots of questions.

I did stippling in the large strips, and tried a couple new-to-me things in the narrower strips. The loopy quilting in the pink strip was fun, and I did okay on that. The wavy quilting in the green strip, on the other hand... not so great! I think I was getting tired and sloppy by the time I got to that. Oh well, it was good to try it out anyway!

Sorry again for dropping off for a while. I'll try to do better in the future. :-)

Monday, July 12, 2010

tutorial - super quick "baste as you go" charity quilt

Yesterday's Project Linus meeting was a sewing session, instead of the usual fabric sorting, label attaching, and kit making that we do. I took advantage of the large table space to try out an idea for a super quick project, combining my favorite Quick Strippie design with the baste as you go technique I learned from Des when I first started quilting. Des, I can't thank you enough for that post - I've never seen the technique mentioned anywhere else, and it's just so fantastic!!

Before the meeting, I prepped the fabric for two quilts. For this design, it's five 6.5" strips of focal fabric, six 3" strips of contrast, and ten 1.5" strips of accent. I also cut five 2.5" strips (of contrast or accent fabric, whichever I had enough of) for the binding. The backs were already made (using my weird backing technique, as explained in a previous post). After only four hours at the meeting, I had two completely pieced and basted quilts! Here's how it works:

First sew the accent strips to the contrast strips, aligning the ends on one side. The bottom and top pieces have the accent on only one side, as you see on the left. Press the seams however you like - I pressed mine towards the contrast because it was easier darker.

Lay out the backing, wrong side up, and smooth it out.

Lay the batting out over the backing, centered and smoothed down.

By the way, I do not AT ALL recommend using crappy fluffy poly batting, but I'm still working on the monster in my closet, so that's what I'm using. If you use nice batting, this technique will be SO much easier! I was especially cursing myself at this meeting, because they had a whole huge bolt of Warm and White sitting there (donated by the Warm company - thanks folks!), free for the taking. But no, I bought this crappy batting, and I'm determined to finish the bolt!

Anyway... After laying down the batting, place the first (top) strip across the top (short) side of the backing/batting. It should be right side up, centered (equal amounts of batting on each side), and as straight as possible.

Then, lay down the next strip, with the bottom edges even. The top strip will be upside down, so the right sides of the two strips are together. Pin the bottom edges, through all layers (the 2 strips, the batting and the backing). Put your pins pretty close together, about 3 or 4 inches apart.

For sewing down the strips, I used a walking foot. I'm not sure it's absolutely necessary, but I think it helps when you have this many layers (and that fluffy batting!). Because I wasn't using my 1/4" quilting foot, I got a wider seam (more like 3/8"). Keep that in mind during your planning - if exact dimensions are important, you'll want to add an extra 1/4" to each row. And you would not want to use this technique for designs which have corner points that would get cut off.

So, drag the whole thing over to your machine, and sew down the seam. It will feel backwards, since the raw edges of the seam will be on the left instead of the right. It helps to pull the fabric from the front and back as you sew, to keep everything taut and straight. When you're done, lay the quilt out again, and fold that second row down and press the seam. Smooth down the batting and backing, making sure they are still laying down straight and smooth.

Add the third row, sew it down, flip and press. Alternate the strips and repeat all the way down the quilt. If you're using directional prints (like I am with the kitty print here), be sure you check the direction before you sew each row!

As you work your way down, you can roll up the quilt on the right to fit under the arm of your sewing machine. When you get towards the middle/bottom of the quilt, you can turn the quilt around and sew from the other direction so you have less bulk under the arm.

After 10 seams, you have a finished top AND a basted quilt. Huzzah! I didn't take a picture of the kitty quilt I was working on above, but here's a picture of the second one I made - a cute froggy print.

Yay, two quilts ready to be quilted! I'll probably do some simple meandering across the focal print rows, and some simple wavy quilting across the accent/contrast rows. For now, these are going to the bottom of the "to be quilted" pile. And now I really need to get back to working on that pile!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

a finish is a finish

I am WAY behind in my blogging (reading and writing), so I'll be playing catch up for a little while...

Let me start with this little Project Linus quilt I finished last week. And when I say finished, that's all I did! My friend Ahava was moving, and gave me a TON of scraps and miscellaneous sewing stuffs (how awesome, right?). Among the bits and pieces was this whole-cloth quilt UFO. It was already quilted, and just needed to be trimmed up and bound.

I was really excited that I finally got to use this fun fabric for the binding. It's some that I got from the cat lady estate sale, and I always thought it would make an awesome binding, but I've never had a quilt that was right for it. But this one was PERFECT - the colors were almost an exact match. Serendipity!

So here it is, all washed and ready to go. The back is flannel - so snuggly!

I love being able to turn someone else's UFO into a donation quilt. It's like a double bonus - a project is rescued, and a kid in need gets a quilt! If you have an old UFO in your closet that you know you'll likely never finish, why not donate it to your charity of choice? It will be one less thing on your "to do" list!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

leaning tower of swaddle

13 Project Linus swaddling blankets, done! (I know, I said 15 before - either I miscounted initially, or I've lost 2 somewhere in the house - both possibilities are equally likely!) Here are twelve of them, very precariously stacked...

The 13th, in this incredibly adorable Valori Wells "Little Owl" flannel, was a gift for my friend Robin and her new little boy. Oh my, what a cutie pie! I even got to hold him while he slept, all snuggly wrapped in it - what a treat for me!

The Project Linus blankets were such a mix of fabrics - I just used whatever I had in my stash. My favorite was this Mexican food print. I hope the family that gets this has a sense of humor! I know I would have loved it, so I hope someone else will too!

One of those (many) UFOs in my stash is another swaddling blanket. I'm going to use that one to make a tutorial, and will post that when I'm done. (Not that the world needs yet another swaddling blanket tutorial, but whatever!) I'm not sure when that will be, because I've started my "clean slate" project and already have a few items in the queue:
  • A table quilt, sort of like this one, but in vintage linens.
  • A second pink quilt, for another friend fighting breast cancer.
  • The postcard quilt.
All of these are basted, so I've got some serious quilting ahead of me! I was tempted to list ALL the WIPs I've got, but I think it would just overwhelm me. So, I think I'll just try it three at a time, and not look too far ahead!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

done - Project Linus #12 and #13

I finished up those two Project Linus quilts, huzzah! I really loved the quilting from the back - it was SO quick and easy!

I'm so happy with the fabric I used for the binding - it matches the striped fabric perfectly. I still have a lot of it left (and a lot of the polka dots too!), and I know there's still some of that stripe fabric in the PL stash... I might have to whip up a few more of these at the next meeting!

Speaking of Project Linus, if you're in the Seattle area, the Pacific Fabric stores are hosting a blanket bee on Sunday, April 25 from noon to 5pm. I'm sad that I'll be out of town that weekend, but if you're at all interested, you should check it out. They'll be sewing simple patchwork tops, sandwiching tops and backs (with all batting donated by The Warm Company - nice!), doing pillowcase-style binding, and tying ties. No experience is required, and you don't have to bring anything. Just show up!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

on a roll

I have a million other projects I could be (should be) working on, but for some reason I feel compelled to finish up the other two Project Linus quilts I have in progress. These patchwork tops were pieced in October and basted in December, and I'm on a tear to get them done. I got the first one quilted this weekend...

Check out that totally even diagonal quilting! Are you wondering how I managed that??

I tried something new to me - quilting from the back! The backing is an awesome huge polka dot, just perfect for it. It was even extra-wide, so no piecing was required. Sorry, I have no idea where it came from (it was a PL donation, and had no selvage info). I'm not sure I totally love the overall effect- it looks a little like a mass-produced bedspread to me. But still, it was super quick and easy to do, and I loved trying something new!

The other one is about 25% done, and with any luck I'll have them both finished this week!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

project linus #11 (and #10)

I finally finished the flower quilting for my Project Linus #11. The crayola washable marker washed right out (phew!), and the quilting doesn't look half bad now that it's all nice and crinkly!

Um, maybe a little TOO crinkly! (I left it in the dryer...)

I never blogged #10, which I finished up last month. Gee, it looks familiar! Same design, but with simpler quilting.

Yay, two finishes!

Friday, January 1, 2010

happy new year!

I wonder if January 1 is the most popular day for blog posting? It does seem right up there with writing down resolutions in a journal! I wasn't blogging last January, but if I had been, my goals for 2009 would have been:
  • Make an effort to reconnect with old friends
  • Teach myself how to quilt by making one Project Linus quilt each month
I did pretty good on the first goal. I took two trips (Nashville, TN and Ames, IA) with my daughter to visit two very dear old friends, and it was so wonderful. I'm hoping to continue with that this year. I'll definitely make the time to visit a couple friends in Texas when I'm back for the family reunion in October, and maybe a trip to visit another friend in Chicago. I'm really appreciating that it's getting easier to travel with my daughter as she gets older. Yay for potty training!

I did AWESOME on the second goal, if I do say so myself! I didn't technically complete it, but I'm still declaring victory in the form of:

9 completely finished Project Linus quilts...

6 swaddling blankets, and 2 "quiltlets" (everything but batting)...

4 more quilts basted and ready for quilting (just this past week - oh my aching back!)...

and 2 tops, 2 backs, and binding for Margaret's Hope Chest and 3 quilt tops for Give a Kid a Quilt...

Meanwhile, I did some quilting of my own! One doll quilt for my daughter, one quiltie for a swap, a quiltlet for my daughter, 5 thrifted/vintage linen quilts (3 given away!), and two quilt tops.

Add to that - starting a blog, doing some other crafty projects, a couple tutorials, a few fun giveaways, AND making some really awesome bloggy friends!! Whew - I'm glad I took the time to write that all up, because now I feel GREAT about all I accomplished last year. Sweet!!!

Here are my goals for next year:
  • Continue making Project Linus quilts, and attend as many monthly meetings as possible.
  • Lose the extra 15 (okay fine, 20!) pounds of "baby" weight I've been lugging around for the last 3 years. I haven't been able to wear my wedding ring since I was 6 months pregnant, and I miss it!!
  • Lose the frump. Working from home has made me so careless about my appearance. Time to update the wardrobe, get a haircut, get back to wearing a little makeup (at least on the weekends!).
  • Do better about replying to blog comments. I do appreciate every single one of them, I just generally suck at email!
Happy new year to everyone! Here's to a fabulous 2010!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

good news, bad news...

First the good news - my second winner is #23 - Beth of Needles, Threads and Crafts, who requested squares. Yay! I was curious about what was more popular, so I tallied the votes - it was 18 for FQs and 15 for Squares (and a few with no preference). So there you go! I'm excited about setting up some swaps, and will be following up with the folks who said they'd be interested after the holidays.

Now the bad news.... all those wonderful awesomeness points my husband earned with that fantastic cake last week? Totally wiped out by his failure to remember that our daughter is allergic to penicillin when asked by the doctor! It wasn't caught by the doctor, who prescribed Amoxycillin for an ear infection, or the pharmacist who dispensed it, or the mama who gave her two doses of it (even celebrating that she was SOOOOO crafty about using pink food color to trick her into taking the "yucky" medicine) before she actually read the label. Luckily, her allergy is not the anaphylactic type, but a serum sickness type of reaction - just a delayed but really nasty rash (that last link is to some photos of her last episode - poor girlie!). She's fine right now, but the previous reactions she had to Amoxycillin only started a full 10 days after taking it, so we'll wait and see.... Ug.

Anyway, on to happier subjects.... I whipped up a little paper garland for the tree this week. Here's a link to a tutorial that's similar. I used three different punches - a 2" scalloped circle, and 1.5" and 1" plain circles. I think I used about 14 sheets of 12" scrapbooking paper, and it made a pretty long garland. My paper was only single-sided, so I paired up the pieces (just using a dab of glue stick, letting it dry overnight) before chaining them together with the sewing machine. Super quick and easy! And cute on the tree!

I went to my Project Linus meeting last Sunday, and volunteered to bring home a couple quilts that needed binding. This scottie dog one has a wavy edge, and I thought I might be able to use the extra binding I had made from that challenge fabric, which has lycra in it. But the stretch is cross-wise instead of length-wise, so I don't think it would work very well. The chapter coordinator suggested I just trim it straight, and I think that's what I'll do.

I love the simple design on this next one. I think I'll jot down the measurements and try it myself someday!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hope squared

My contribution to the Hope Squared project at Margaret's Hope Chest is all boxed up and ready to go! I whipped up two I-spy quilt tops, along with two scrappy patchwork backs and enough binding for them both. I can't tell you how happy I am to be able to let someone else finish these off!!! I'm so slow at the basting and quilting parts, and I'm just so pleased to be able to contribute what I have most of - fabric!

I'm also passing along some simple whole-cloth quilt kits (coordinating fronts & backs) that I picked up at an estate sale last year. I emailed Carin to make sure these were acceptable (since they aren't technically patchwork), and she said sure! There's a Sunbonnet Sue at the Zoo, two of the animal alphabet...

...a Mother Goose, and a really soft turquoise flannel.

I'd been intending to sew these up for Project Linus, but had just never gotten around to it. I'm really happy to know that they'll be sewn up so much sooner than if I had kept them to do myself. I hope they will bring some joy and comfort to those kids!