Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cross October off the list! A Lovely Year of Finishes

My October A Lovely Year of Finishes goal was pretty low-key...bind my polka dot log cabin quilt (which I spiral quilted as my June goal).

October's over and I'm done! So often I sit on bindings because I'm more interested in moving on to piecing a new project, so having this one completed feels fantastic! Now it's time to wash it and see how/if those spirals pop out.

On to November!

Blogger's Quilt Festival Entry: Favorite Scrappy Quilt

I'm entering my Patchwork Love quilt in the Favorite Scrappy Quilt category of the Blogger's Quilt Festival. I made this quilt for the Tula Pink Sewalong hosted by Sew Sweetness; I loved Tula's original quilt (shown at the bottom of this post) but knew that what made it so neat was the machine quilting, and I just didn't have those kind of skills. So I went the patchwork route instead! 

I randomly pieced together large "blocks" in each of the four colors I chose and then made them fit together. You can see the quilt, pre-assembly, below.
I really loved piecing this--no rules, no measuring...

I quilted it on my home machine. Straight lines in the letters, pebbles around the letters, and then a diagonal pattern of straight lines, wavy lines and larger circles radiating out from the center.

Tula's original LOVE quilt:

I hung my version in our guild's show 2 weeks ago, and now I'll be sending it off to Margaret's Hope Chest, an organization that gives quilts to those in need in the Grand Rapids area.
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Trick-or-Treat Bag Tutorial

I'm not sure what I love best about Halloween--the decorations, the costumes, or the candy. (Many people strategically buy candy they don't like so they won't be tempted to eat the leftovers. I strategically buy candy I do like so that I can happily eat whatever's left come November 1.)

So it should come as no great surprise that my Halloween tutorial offers a way to tote all that candy around in style! I first made these bags back in April, and they were featured in the August/September issue of magazine. I had given one away, so I made another bag this week (it takes less than an hour!), and now both of my boys are ready for Halloween!

This bag is easy to make--by starting with two t-shirts, half the sewing is already done for you!

You'll need:

  • Two XS child's t-shirts--one orange and one black (Hobby Lobby has the Gildan brand for $4-$5 each.)
  • 1 sheet Washaway Stabilizer
  • Fabric marking pen
  • Ruler, rotary cutter, iron, matching thread--all those basics you already have
To transform the neck and arms of the t-shirt into bag handles, start with the orange shirt and cut the sleeves off about 1" inside the seams. Measure in 2" from those cut lines on either side and make a mark at the top of the shirt. Measure 2" down from the center neckline and draw a horizontal line. Draw lines down from the shoulder marks to meet the horizontal line. Don't worry about the lines and/or shapes being perfect--this bag finishes with raw edges exposed, which then curl in the washing machine, so no one will be judging! 

Cut out the bag opening that you drew around the neck of the shirt. Turn the orange shirt inside out, layer it on top of the black shirt and make the same cuts.

Cut an 8-1/2" square from the stabilizer and fuse to the inside (which is currently facing out) of the orange bag, approximately 1"-2" down from the top edge of the bag.

Turn bag right side out. Use my templates (forgive the pencil drawings--the only way this tutorial was going to get posted before Halloween was to go with the less professional hand drawn shapes, but they still work!) or draw your own--even easier than carving them into an actual pumpkin! Trace the shapes onto the interfacing, centering the face left to right and positioning the tops of the eyes near the top edge of the interfacing. Cut out face shapes. (You can actually do this project without the interfacing, but the stretchy t-shirt makes both the cutting and the stitching a lot harder--I highly recommend using the interfacing!)

Here are my face shapes cut out. I slide a piece of white paper inside the shirt so you could see them. Orange on orange kind of hurts the eyes! Again, don't worry if your cutting isn't perfect--washing makes this project very forgiving.

Trim the hemmed bottom off the orange shirt. With the shirt still right side in, sew the bottom closed using a 1/4" seam allowance. Cut 1-1/2" squares out of both bottom corners. Repeat on the black shirt, with wrong side out (the only way you'll know this is by looking at the shoulder seams in the handles).

Box the corners of the orange bag. I took a photo, but again, the orange on orange makes it hard to see. If you're unfamiliar with the boxing concept, match up the side "fold" of the shirt with the bottom seam. This will bring together the cut edges of the corner square into a straight line. Sew across that line using a 1/4" seam allowance. This will create a 3-D corner. Repeat on the opposite corner. Turn the orange shirt right side out.

Box the corners of the black shirt. Leave it wrong side out. Slide the black bag inside the orange bag, wrong sides matching. Match up the raw edges (again, doesn't have to be perfect) and pin all raw edges. Sew along all raw edges (both the opening of the bag and the two handles) using a 1/4" seam allowance. A note on thread color here--I used black for both my spool and bobbin. Using an orange/black combo to coordinate with each fabric creates unsightly stitches, and since the raw edges of the bag curl out over the orange, I preferred to use the black and have it be slightly covered. For me, I liked that better than using all orange and having the orange stitching show through on the lining. It's a matter of personal preference and/or how smooth and straight your stitching lines on stretchy jersey are.

 Pin the edges of the orange cut-out sections to the black background and stitch around those. Be very careful that you're only stitching through the front two layers of the bag!

Toss the bag in the wash. This will remove the stabilizer and give the raw edges some nice curl.
Fill with candy!

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial! 
Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

To green, or not to green?

It never fails...when I have something I *should* be sewing (i.e. deadline-related), a different project cries out for attention and piques my interest. In this case, it's a baby quilt that I'm making for the friends who received the Urban Lattice quilt I recently finished. The baby boy was born in August (I gave them the wedding quilt a year late; trying to be a little more timely with the baby quilt).

And if you're wondering why a quilt for a baby born in August isn't at the top of my to-do list...well, this is the SECOND baby born in August who will be receiving a quilt. I'm just a little stuck on the first quilt idea. And I'm finishing a Halloween tutorial. And my do.Good Stitches blocks for October. 


I had these fabrics from a Blue Underground 1/4 yard roll I'd bought a few years ago and hadn't used yet. Love them! 

And a vague idea to do a wonky cross block like this and like this, but with a skinnier cross. 

I started out swimmingly by sewing the wrong side of my initial piece to the center strip:
 (I think it's only fitting that my photo of my mistake is blurry...don't you?)

Then I got back on track and finished my first block:

I've got 5 done. I love how fast these go, and how carefree they are! 

Now here's my question. Do I just stick with the mocha and denim fabrics, or do I throw a little green in there for variety? I keep going back and forth. I love just the mocha and denim alone, but then I think maybe the green would add a little pop. I'd love to hear your opinion!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

Winner and what I've been up to

I'm a bit late with this, but finally picking a winner from my "Twist to the 60s" blog hop giveaway. The winner is:
Congrats, Roccagal!
I am sending you an email for your mailing address.

Beyond the usual hustle and bustle, I got caught up the last few weeks in our guild's quilt show. I was in charge of PR for the show and then also volunteered to photograph all the quilts before the show began and burn a CD to sell at the show. Yeah, busy much?

Here are my three quilts that hung in the show.
First, my Whitehaven Beach landscape quilt for our Travel Dreams challenge:

My Scrappy Ribbons color challenge quilt:

My Patchwork Love quilt:

And a few of my favorites from the show:
by Barb Horvath

by Holly Short

by Jackie Skerritt

by Joanne Dorgan

by Joanne Dubnicka

by June Berlitz

by Stephanie Peterson

by Teri Cleveland
More to come this week...a Halloween tutorial and a new quilt I've started even though it's not really on the top five of my to-do list!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Lovely Year of Finishes October Goal

There are 3 months left in 2013's A Lovely Year of Finishes!

With my next couple of projects only existing as vague ideas in my head, I'm choosing a simpler and more concrete goal for October. Hopefully I'll also get at least one of those projects started during the month, but my goal for this month is to bind my polka dot log cabin quilt (which I spiral quilted as my June goal). It may not be a super-exciting goal, but it's always satisfying to be able to move a quilt into the "done" pile!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Time to Twist!

Today I'm part of the "Let's Twist to the 60s with Batiks" blog hop. I'm always happy to jump on the batik bandwagon--I love the colors, the richness, and the patterns of these dyed fabrics!

My quilt might actually be better described as "let's curve to the 60s"... was that a dance too?!

I've had the idea for this quilt for a while so the lure of batiks meant that this hop seemed like a great opportunity to try it out. I pulled out my brightest batiks, cut them into strips of various widths, and started piecing strip sets...

I joined pieced strips until I had sections that measured about 20" high. 

Then I used a curved ruler (the Leaves Galore Applique Template from Sue Pelland Designs) and started cutting. 

I originally planned to piece the curves together, but (shhh!) I got lazy at the last minute. I cut half of the strip sections into curves and simply layered them on top of the remaining sections. 

A little wavy line quilting and voila! Batiks that curve (and twist?)!

I can't end without thanking Madame Samm of Sew We Quilt and Mary of I Piece 2 Mary for being this hop's cheerleaders. And don't forget to visit today's other bloggers:

Color My World - you're here!

As a thank you for stopping by during the blog hop, I'm offering a giveaway from my batik stash (pieces are approximately fat eighths in size). To enter to win, leave a comment telling me your favorite 60s song. (Feel free to sign up to follow my blog, as well!) Mine would definitely be either a Beach Boys or Jan and Dean song--I may not have been born yet in the 60s, but I grew up listening to that music with my dad! The giveaway is open through Sunday, October 6th at 11:59 EST. On Monday, I'll choose a winner through random generator and post the name here on my blog. Good luck1