Monday, January 30, 2012

A long time comin'

Three things happened this weekend that seemed like they may never happen.

One:  we're on the other side of all our winter bleh.  Everyone has been sick and yuck and now we're done.  Almost.  Baby boy has a tinch left but it will soon be gone.  OH yes, it will be gone.

I finally finished my Pink Elephant Quilt!   I knew I wanted to do hand quilting at some point in my life.  So I made a little baby quilt and went to it.... 3 years ago.  It kept getting pushed aside and I finally brought it back out recently. 

Yep, all hand quilted and I really love it.  The stitches feel so good.  It has a great texture.

I actually started this before she was born.  She's three now.  Oy.

The back is half pink chenille and half pale pink cotton dots.  I appliqued and embroidered a little polka dot elephant on the back.   Yes it's my favorite animal. 

Lastly, I finished my sister-in-law's quilt!  Woo hoo!  This didn't take quite as long as the elephant quilt but nearly a year.  So embarrassing. 

So the sorority symbols are pink carnations and crescent moons.  Well how could I let a chance go by without getting that in fabric?

The carnations were easy enough.  I actually found two and used one for sashing and a lighter print for the border. 

The moons however were a pain. A very expensive pain. I did find ONE repro print that wasn't baby-ish and it was about $10/yd. I really wanted it for the backing but not that bad. I chose to buy a yard and use it as the binding instead.

I think that's where I got off-track with this quilt.  I so badly wanted the moons for the back and kept wringing my hands about the cost or if I could find any other moon fabric out there.  I couldn't.

 I quilted each t-shirt square with matching thread and then used gray in my bobbin. All the squares were the loopty loos except the mish-mash square at the bottom right where I combined 4 pieces to make one big square. I did each quadrant in a different FMQ. Here is my rockin' pebble stitch. What a great texture that has! But I don't think it would be fun to do an entire large bed quilt that way.

It is super duper long.  Get it,"A loooong time comin'"?  My sister-in-law is tall but not 7 foot.  Hopefully it is still well-loved and received anyway.  My husband called it the 'rob' quilt because of the Greek letters.

Good-bye, Rob Quilt. 
One quilting resolution done!

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Pinterest Finish! {Farm Play Mat Tutorial}

My good friend from 1000 years ago (high school days) saw this on Pinterest and I was immediately inspired.  I was thrilled to take on this little project.  I love quilting but change can be very refreshing!

I used a bunch of pieces of batting from previous quilts.  Butted up together, large zigzag, and viola!  Frankenbatting!

I thought the best way to go about this was a Quilt as You Go style.  In a nutshell, sewing directly onto the batting.

I used all scraps - go me!  (And BTW, I'm happy to report I have not spent one penny on fabric for 29 days.)  Trying to make it as interesting with various textures, colors, etc but still farmy.  My three-year-old was so tickled to help with this.  She loved picking out things and asking me to use them.  That creative spontaneity is so wonderful, especially when shared with a little one.

Suede, burlap, work shirts, ribbons, corduroy, upholstery, and lots of fun machine stitches made it so exciting to see what could be coming next from those little eager hands.  I tried to imagine landscape images (ponds, fields, tractor paths, grasslands, tree lines) but still wanted it to be open for the kiddos to use their imaginations.

I also created some hills by stuffing teeny tiny fabric scraps under the fabric before sewing it down. 

Some edges were left raw for extra texture, grassy effects, you know...

By the way, if your work room doesn't look like this, you're not doing it right! 

So once I had two large-ish pieces "quilted" I joined them together.  Just one seam down the middle.

My blue minky backing ready for basting.  Taped to the floor upside down.

Farm mat laid on top.  Remember this was Quilt as You Go so the batting is already there.

A few pins around the perimeter since I only intend on minimal quilting here.  It's pretty small.

If this were my farm I'd plant zucchini, snap peas, romaine, and have 35 chickens.

 I sewed thru the layers (backing, front/batting) where I sewed that seam to join the two sides.  So yep, only one seam down the middle.  From my stash I had that (previously regarded as hideous) grass binding.  It looked perfect here, but like Vietnam on the previous quilt I tried it on.

The kids liked it and were looking for their plots, mermaids in the pond, different crops, and a stray peacock.  If "the boys" have half as much fun, I'll call it success!

Monday, January 16, 2012

In my tree

My boy is well.... a boy!  He's growing and becoming ornery.  He loves to make motor noises while driving (and eating) cars.

I was totally in love with him crawling and playing under the table.  I often give thanks for this healthy sweet baby.  He is cuddle-icious and is doted on by everyone who sees him.

Just a boy and his cars. 

Working on my sarah jane family tree quilt.  We recently drove really, really far to visit my family and I thought it fitting to work on this quilt.  I'm kicking myself for not picking up any of the other adorable fabric in her line but I think I'll have enough pinks to work with.

The 6-inch border here is from a flannel sheet.  It is so warm and fuzzy. 

I'm really excited to finish this one up and have it around.  My husband didn't get to know his grandparents from "the old country" so this is one tiny way to be reminded of them and know their names.  (We've had to ask Nonna more than once who is who...)

For the embroidery, I used plum thread (3 ply) on the female names and dark brown for the males.  It turned out perfectly!  Hopefully it will be finished up before long.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Looking ahead...

My quilting resolutions for 2012...
I'd like to make a Plus Quilt
I NEED to finish my sister-in-law's tshirt quilt

I'd like to make a Gray and Green quilt.  I really like these fabrics together and have most of them on hand.  It feels so natural, organic, and calming. 

I have a ton of Nicey Jane blocks that I'd like to finish up the quilt for.  It was supposed to be "my" quilt but now that my girls are starting to get a sense of style and it seems similar to mine... maybe they'll cuddle under with me.  Which is a quilter-mommy's dream come true!

I want to be more aware of the money I spend on fabric and buy only what I need.  I've been organizing lately and find that I've ordered fabrics that I've already had.  How embarrassing.  What am I, a quilt shop?  NO!  So I really need to 1 - organize (obviously) and stay organized.  2- spend less and use what I have on hand.

And finally... not a resolution but a dream.  I would just love the chance to go to Squam.  I would love to take my oldest daughter and reconnect.  To her. To me.  To life. 

It seems so peaceful and calm, the opposite of life here sometimes.  I think it's healthy to take a break and cleanse the mind and heart. 

But if $1000 doesn't drop from the sky and I am not able to go, I would like to make the goal of having my own Squam here.  Day trips, peaceful outings, calm nature-filled days and walks in the abundant woods around us.  To keep that picture of God's beautiful creation in my mind and aim for it in my daily life.  To enjoy what He has entrusted to me and resolve to grow closer to Him and it

Life easily gets hectic and I put pressures on myself that I don't need to.  Burdens that Christ never intended me to carry.  I do hope to live more simply and love more deeply. 

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!  Live the life you've imagined! ~Thoreau