Monday, February 28, 2011

Wool Applique

Last year we went to Utah for Summer vacation and while there I got this old wooden frame from my lovely Mother-in-law.
She had got it from a thrift store (DI for you UT locals!) for the princely sum of...
and I carted it all the way back to New Hampshire on the plane. I rediscovered it yesterday while cleaning and thought hmmmm I really should do something with that!

I fell in love with wool applique last year after doing a round robin with some quilty friends, (click HERE, HERE and HERE to see 3 of the tops from our group) and think some wool applique would look fabulous in the frame. Though don't you even think that frame is going to stay that color. I love the magic spray paint can bring to old ugly frames:)

I've decided on a simple scene of a house with two trees (just like our house!) and will of course fancy it up with embroidered and beaded flowers, birds, and anything else that strikes my fancy as I work on it.

I folded some wool just to get an idea of placement and sizes...I'm excited to have something woolly to work on again!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Difference Between M's and W's

For my sewing today I stuck to something simple. Some of the zig zag blocks I received back from ladies in my online bee groups, though lovely, were upside down! It's a very easy mistake to make (I may or may not have done the same thing myself on a few!) and also a very easy mistake to fix.

This one here is put together the right way and the zig zags form a capital "M"This one is put together upside down and the zig zags form a capital "W"

When you try to put them together, this is what you get.... See why they have to be "M's" instead of "W's"?!

All I did to fix them was undo the middle seam and switch the two halves around. Easy peasy and now I have a nice pile of "M's" to use :)

Edited to add: I've had a couple of people, plus my husband, ask why I don't just flip the blocks around. So to answer any more questions about it (and it actually is a really good question!), the answer is this...if I were to flip the block around, yes the zig zags would match up, but I would be connecting the blue row to the red row. If you were doing the quilt completely scrappy and not with specific rows of color, then yes you could absolutely flip the blocks around. I'm just being difficult and making it hard on myself, but hopefully for a great effect!

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Today I added another mini quilt to my wall of quilts. When you make the blocks from my zig zag tutorial, each block will yield you 16 left over HST's. (That's Half Square Triangles for all you non-quilting folk!) If I have 64 zig zag blocks for my quilt, that is 1024 HST's for me to enjoy and repurpose! Last week I used 4 of them and made a little pincushion. Today I used 24 and made this...Then I did some fun triangular quilting with a variegated thread...
bound it with some gorgeous Kaffe fabric, then put it up on my wall.The beauty of HST's is that you can arrange them in an endless amount of ways and make different patterns. They are so much fun to play with! I think I'll make some quilted pillow covers for our bed to match the zig zag quilt when it's done, and also a wall quilt to go above our bed, probably with some applique on the borders. Hopefully I don't get sick of the HST's too quickly! (By the way, the background is Kona Chocolate, not black like it appears!)

Friday, February 25, 2011

One Hour Friday

For One Hour Friday this week I decided to add to my placemat collection that I started back here. 'Collection' is a strong word, considering I still only had the original ONE! But hey, tonight I doubled my collection and now have two!

I'm going to make each one a different color, and tonight I went with blue. I found a leftover block from this quilt, and used it for the center. That helped to make this a one hour project. I love repurposing old blocks! Every other piece of fabric I used was straight from my scrap bin and randomly pieced together improv style.The other two things that kept it under one hour were simple zig zag quilting, and sewing it inside out and turning it through instead of using a binding.

I particularly like this curvy pieced bit...Two down, four to go!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ticker Tape Quilt Done

Today I finished up the Ticker Tape mini quilt and have it up on my wall of quilts. I really, REALLY enjoyed making this, and I think I will make more. It is a fantastic way to use up scraps, and very fast to make. Perhaps I'll do an even smaller one for One Hour Friday sometime - that's how fast these come together!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Queen Bee

A couple of days ago I heard about the Sew Mama Sew pillow contest that is going on. I thought, oh great - I've made lots of pillows lately! I thought I'd enter the one with the bird sitting on a flower, then I read the rules and they said that the pillow must be created between Feb 1st and Feb 23rd. I looked at my blog to see when I made it, and wouldn't you know, it was on January 30th! Arggghh! So this morning I decided to make a new one. Keep in mind that today was the final day to make a pillow in order for it to be entered. I thought no problem - I had an idea and started to work on it. Wouldn't you know, it took me all darn day! I am totally in love with it though. It's the biggest of the pillows I've made lately, at 24 inches square. I'm going to have it on my bed and use it behind my back when I sew. I do most of my needleturn applique sitting up in bed, so this will be very useful for that.I think I might make a matching one for my hubby, but more of a King's crown shape, and call it either, "Worker Bee" or "Honey Bee"! Which would you choose?!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ticker Tape Quilt

Tonight I'm giving you a break from the re-do of my quilting space (which is almost completely cleaned up by the way!) and showing you some actual applique!I do love hand applique, preferably needle turn, but sometimes I just feel like doing something quick and easy on the machine. Today was one of those days. Enter the Ticker Tape mini quilt. People did a lot of these around blog land a few months back and though I admired them it wasn't until today that I actually started one.

I have a long skinny space on my wall of quilts that needs something, and I think this will be perfect. I have yet to finish sewing the shapes down, and then bind it, but hey I had to leave something for tomorrow!
Here is a tutorial already done on Sew Mama Sew by Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts if you would like to see how easy it is to make your own Ticker Tape quilt.

And just for fun, here is where my cat slept the entire day today...
Funny cat. Nothing pleases him more than a plastic bag.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Shelf Progress

I managed to get all the shelving up tonight and it's starting to feel a bit better down in the dungeon! For a while there things had to get worse before they got better, and to a certain extent it's still that way, but I see light at the end of the tunnel now. Hopefully tomorrow it will all be done.

Looking toward my daughter's side of the room...

...and then towards mine...

Yes I do have a bunch of things to put away!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Room Re-Do

My quilt room is driving me crazy! I remember being a teenager and my Dad telling me to clean my room because your room reflects the state of your mind. Now as an adult I feel that while that sometimes holds true, if I twist the saying around a bit to say a room can affect your state of mind, that it is more accurate statement for me. I can be happy and joyful, then walk into a messy room and feel sad, and that's how I've been feeling for the last little while when I go to my quilt room.

I made room in there recently for my 10 year old girl. She got a sewing machine for her birthday so now she has her own sewing desk and space down there. I love that we can sew together but she is even more disorganized than her mother! Doesn't look TOO bad, right? Let's take a closer look...

So some serious organization is needed, if for no other reason to set a good example for her.

Tonight that journey has begun. I had some shelving up in my kitchen which I took down last year and is now going up in my quilt room. I just have one piece up right now, with two more to go...
I got the idea from this blogger, Katy, whom I have met in real life! You can see in her post here how she used it, 5th and 6th pictures down. I saw it and thought hey I could totally do that! I hope to have a lot more progress to show you over this next week. For now, everything is moved to the other side of the room as seen here...ugh!
It can only get better, right?!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pillow Number 5

Do you remember the birds I appliqued back here? If you do then you're better than me because I had forgotten all about them until I moved a pile of fabric today and found them! I was so excited and had to turn them into a pillow on the spot. And thus the 5th pillow for my living room was born.I went with a wavy print on the back and quilted the back in the same wavy pattern as suggested by the print.The front got the echo quilting treatment and some little quilted eyes on the birds.And here it is with it's buddy the bird on a flower pillow.
I used the same bird for all of them and I think they will have a happy life being used by my family!

Friday, February 18, 2011

One Hour Friday

I had planned to make another placemat tonight for one hour Friday, but then my lovely hubby asked if I would watch a movie with him and I just couldn't resist. He goes to both school and work full time so time spent together is precious. The only problem was that my quilt room is downstairs and our bedroom is upstairs, which makes it difficult to use my sewing machine and watch a movie with him at the same time!

So handwork it had to be. But what project can anyone make by hand in one hour? I settled on another pincushion to go with this one. Why not start a collection?

I already had some half-square triangles left over from my zig zag quilt (when I say some, I really mean about 600!) so I thought making something with them would make it go faster.Then I was faced with how to sew this thing together without my machine which is downstairs. My only option was to hand piece the entire thing. Luckily I have some experience with that, having started on a lone star 4 years ago, entirely hand pieced using Jinny Beyer's method, which you can read about in this book which I highly recommend if you are interested in learning how to hand piece.

I find it very relaxing, and it's really not much slower than machine piecing once you get the hang of it. You load up your needle with running stitches and go for it! I sewed 4 half square triangles together... ...backed it with a square of Anna Maria Horner fabric, stuffed it and it was all done. Time from start to finish - 50 minutes!
Best of all, there is still plenty of room on my bookcase for more...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Monkey On My Back...

...and on my front, and on my sides, and my arms and legs! I spent the evening (after I spent the afternoon watching the new Justin Bieber movie with my daughter...aargh!) making a new nightgown, and the flannel I bought is covered in monkeys playing in the snow. I went to the store with the intent of buying something refined, pretty, and very girly. And I leave with snow monkeys. I just couldn't resist - they were adorable!I wanted a nice comfy roomy nightgown with a big ruffle around the bottom, and made from nice warm flannel. Mission accomplished...and my kids are going to be so jealous when they see it in the morning!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tastes change

Today I finished appliqueing down all the big basic pieces on this second house block. The house is all done and the vine is done. Still to be put on this block are swirly flowers around the vine, leaves, and tulips in the meadow. I do have a problem though. My tastes have changed and the big dull green hill is just not doing it for me like it was 5 years ago! I didn't applique it down and I think I will change it out to something with a little more pizazz to it.

It also might be that I only make two blocks of this quilt. I remember handling my book so much that it started to come apart at the binding, and split in two. Tonight I found part of it, but it's only the first 6 pages, and there are no pattern pieces in the first 6 pages. Never fear, I will figure something out!