Tuesday, September 27, 2011

And now for something completely different

I have to admit, the first bit of 100% cotton fabric I ever bought wasn't even for quilting - it was a cat print yardage, bought under the guise of  "oh, I'll make an apron!" when I was still making dance things.

I bought 4 yards just to be sure I had enough fabric. And it was probably a year later when I saw a sale and realized that if I wanted to make an apron, I was probably going to need to get a pattern. Fortunately, the featured apron on Butterick 4945 was just perfect:

Butterick 4945. I made the one in the middle.

And it only required HALF my precious kitty fabric, meaning I could conceivably make 2! Never get me excited about efficiency, if you can avoid it :-)

Anyways, so then fast forward to last year, when I find Hello Kitty fabric for a friend who's both a HUGE Hello Kitty Fan and a devoted baker. I buy it off Etsy, and the gauntlet is thrown - now I *have* to make an apron, I bought fabric for it! I decide to do my own apron first (so that I can work out the wrinkles before I give a gift) and in addition to the kitty fabric, I find fabric for a winter apron on really really good sale.

It's Snow Fun by JAK Designs for South Seas Imports

I mean seriously, who could resist these snowmen? Cutting the out went fairly quick, and then sewing them together went fine until it was time to attach the waist strap - to this day I am not sure I did it right. But I did come out with 2 perfectly adorable aprons, in about 2 days worth of project time.

Without Further Ado:

My summer apron, and my winter apron. Next up? Hello Kitty for a friend. And I still need something to do with the rest of the cat fabric...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Spookyvile Completed - Celebrate Color

Welcome Celebrate Color participants!

I am proud to present... Spookyville complete! This quilt is going to the son of one of my dance troupe mates, a "Boooooyyyy" who is currently scheduled to make his official entrance to the world on Halloween Day. His parents - both HUGE Halloween buffs - couldn't be happier. 

This quilt is made entirely from Spookyville fabric by Julie Dobson Miner. It features 2 panels and a fat quarter, plus sashing and binding. I even free-motion quilted it myself, making it the second quilt I have ever assembled from start to finish. Here it is front and back:

 And some close-ups of my quilting:

 Plus my husbands favorite detail :

This quilt was completed on September 21st, 2011 and will leave for its new home on October 8.

Just in time to enter it in this month's Celebrate Color competition from Stitched In Color. I know it's not traditional fall colors, but what could be more associated with Fall than Halloween? If you like this quilt and it makes it to the finals, please vote for me! And if you're a normal reader, feel free to head on over there and see what others have submitted - there's quite the array.

Celebrate Color

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Spookyville Back

One day, I will indulge. Rather than piece laboriously from the fabric leftover from the front of the quilt, I will simply BUY a fabric I like - in whatever yardage I need - and use it to back my quilt. That will have the advantage of being much, much quicker than my current method, but it will also be more expensive. Ah, well, jot it down under "things to do when I win the lottery (and have infinite space for my stash)."

In the meantime, the good part of all that piecing is, the back of Spookyville I think comes out close to equally cute:

It was a tight squeeze, but I managed to use all the leftover fat quarters and most of the leftover sashing to make a back that's maybe 4 inches wider than the top itself. I think it also took about as long.

Anyways, I have a couple more projects before I can in good conscience buy fabric again, but here is what I am looking at:

Trick Or Treat by Riley Blake

Gone Haunting By Sue Zipkin

Anyone else drooling over Halloween fabric as the month of October draws close?

Monday, September 19, 2011


It's nearing Halloween! For me the best part of Halloween has always been the chocolate, but my husband is a consummate Scary Everything lover. His favorite type of movie is the one that makes me jump right off the couch!

Anyways, so when I heard a mutual friend was pregnant and expecting her baby on - you guessed it - Halloween (and she's as big a fan of Halloween as my husband!) I just had to jump in and try something. There is a lot of really great Halloween fabric out there, some of which I still pine for, but here's what I chose for her: Spookyville!

Spookyville by Julie Dobson for Studio E Fabrics - Panel

Spookyville Fat Quarter pack from the Fat Quarter shop
I love working with panels: I feel like it challenges my fly-by-the seat-of-my-pants-ness, and for the most part I like the idea of central features to design around. If course, the first thing I did was cut 2 panels up, to arrange this:

A Spooky Beginning?

Which eventually turned into this:


Of course my husband then looked at it and said hopefully, "that's really adorable honey, is it for us?"  So now I have to make US a Halloween quilt too!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

100 Quilts for Kids

Saw this today, and it seems like a really worthwhile project -

100 Quilts for Kids is a charity challenge that asks us to make quilts and then donate them to our own local charities. This year, they are collecting quilts from Sept 15 to October 14, and in order to have your quilt count, all you need do is link a picture of your quilt and where it went to a (forthcoming) post on SwimBikeQuilt's blog.

I would love to volunteer for this, but all my current WIPs already have designees. Kate Spain had a good idea I think might work for other people, though - she posted an old quilt top she's never gotten around to finishing and doesn't mind donating on her bog, and asked for volunteers to baste, quilt, and bind it. I am currently trying to get all the quilting experience I can muster, so I would like to offer the following deal to any piecers that want to participate, but hate quilting/assembly:

If you have a top that is already done, and which you would like to donate, I am offering to baste, bind and quilt it. You can leave a comment or email me privately, and we'll set up arrangements. I can accept tops by mail and if you like, mail it back directly to your favorite charity. Otherwise I can donate it to a local (Oklahoma) Charity where I live.

Here are examples of some of my work (some of which haven't been seen at this blog yet!:

Unnamed Quilts Magazine Project:

Upcoming "Spookyville" Quilt for a Halloween Baby:

And my first-ever full Quilting job, Rainbow Off the Rails:

So, if you're willing to team up with me to participate, please comment or send me an email. I'm pretty sure I can get at least 2 quilts in before the deadline.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quilting Rainbows

Up until this point, all my quilts had been professionally quilted by my friend/mentor/professional quilter, Mary Ann of Another Mary Ann Custom Quilting. Mary Ann does a fabulous and stunning job on all her quilts, (I mean seriously - Check out her work on Care Bears here and Ellie Fun here ) And I want to be her when I mature as a quilter :-).

Anyways, on August 31, 2011 I took my second free-motion quilting class from her, and found it was time to spread my *own* wings as a quilter. So, with her as my guide, I brought in Rainbows off the Rail  and quilted it myself. Without further ado, here it is, partially quilted on the design wall at Quilter's corner:

And fully quilted by yours truly, with binding completed just tonight:

And In detail:

It is the wobbly hand of a beginner to be sure, but the astute observer will note flowers, butterflies, leaves, loop-de-loops and hearts. The most trouble I had was with the wavy lines for the rainbow itself, but for a first pass, I am actually quite proud.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Rainbow Off The Rails

At the time I bought this fabric, my darling 2 year old niece was... maybe 6 months? My mom had gifted me the book 90-Minute Quilts, and I was intrigued by a faux rail fence quilt that used striped fabric to get the rail fence look with squares. So, when I saw the Wizard of Oz Rainbow Fabric, I was immediately gone.

Of course, I bought all the stuff to start the quilt, and then life intervened. I did another project instead, and this one got shelved for... a while. When I picked it back up, of course I couldn't help but tinker. It took me a while to figure out a way to sash my rail fence rainbow (and my stitch ripper and I got very familiar along the way), but once I did, my rainbow looked like this:

Colorful, huh? I thought the blue "sky" bits really added a pop.

Unfortunately at finished size the quilt turned out to be about 36" by 45", which seemed a little small for a gift to someone sharing a room with the Ellie fun quilt (~50x70) so it looks like rainbow off the rails is probably going to be "in reserve" for a different home. Here it is *almost* fully assembled:

Because it was so small a quilt top, I thought it would be perfect for my upcoming "Free Motion Quilting Expanded" class. More to come on that.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Preview of things to come...

Here is one of the quilts I am currently working on, in its infancy.

In this Picture: Ellie Fun 2, Batik Beauty, and ????
I've spent most of the blog so far trying to catch up on things I've already done, so I look forward to  moving on to the things I am still in the process of doing. Exciting times!

Batiks 2

Remember my Niece's Batik Quilt that went on hold due to overbright sashing? I agonized over it for quite a while and even made a trip to Sooner Quilts to no avail, but then mom came to the rescue proposing this bamboo batik print. I liked that it had lengthwise details, and although I agonized over buying the fabric online, here's how it looked in the quilt:

I combined it with deep yellow/light orange cornerstones made with fabric from the Savage Quilter, which play off the little yellow dots in the feature fabric.  I ended up liking it so much, I ordered more for sashing,

and backing. Notice how the back is also partially pieced from the front, to maximize my use of leftover fabric.

Also, this was my first experience with a scrappy binding. I forgot to take really good pictures, but if you look carefully you can see alternating light and dark purple/violet binding, with cornerstone yellow fabric in between. I think it turned out great on this quilt, but given the amount of effort (and fabric waste) involved, I am not sure I am going to be quite as gung-ho to do a scrappy binding instead.

This quilt, dubbed "batik beauty" by me, was gifted in June of '11 to my eldest niece. Mailing it was a truly nerve-wracking experience, but it arrived safely and to much fanfare. I am told it went to a slumber party to be showed off that night :-)

Thursday, September 1, 2011


If ever you need an excuse to shop for fat quarters until you drop, and perhaps beyond that, I have discovered the secret to making it happen.

1) Marry into (or at least become engaged within) a large family.
2) Decide that you're going to make everyone, from grandparent to grandkid, a 16" stocking.

Works like a charm, every time - and in only 2 easy steps!

I calculated out 16 family members on his side (he's one of 7 kids) plus 3 for me and my parents. I have 2 siblings + a FSIL that didn't make it out, so theirs are a project for 2011. But all in all, the total came to 19 stockings - a few of which I was able to do from stash, but most of which took me on a tour of every quilt shop in the OKC metro area looking for just the perfect fabric for each person.

Here's the result:

19 stockings, hung by the fire with care. Mine is the pumpkins, if anyone asks.

Extra points to anyone who can correctly identify which 2 stockings here came from stash.