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Showing posts from September, 2010

Quilts in progress

Despite spending most of the weekend and a few hours here and there sewing after work, there isn't much to show for it in completed projects. But here's a peek at some of the projects I'm working one:

Appliqueing each flower using the needle-turn method is going faster than I expected, but each block still takes about 2 hours to complete. Two flowers down, four more to go. I hope to have this quilt completed just in time for spring 2011.

I started this quilt at least 2 years ago and have been making the monkey wrench blocks in fits and starts. 70 blocks completed, only 36 more to go. My goal is to piece the top by the end of this year. Doable, yes?

This one was supposed to be a birthday present, but I missed that deadline by a mile. It's on track to be a Christmas gift instead. The backing, which is what is shown here, is a soft cuddly fleece, perfect for warding off those "chilly" Southern California evenings.

And I still have to quilt and bind my sister'…

Tutorial: Make Life... Charming Table Runner

Sometimes it's fun to make blocks just to get in some sewing, but then what to do with those blocks? Like those from last week.  Table runners seem to be a popular quilting option in blog land, so I made one up using the three blocks made from one charm pack. If you don't have time or the inclination to make a whole quilt, why not try making a table runner instead? It's a great excuse to buy some flowers, too.

To make the Make Life... Charming Table Runner, you will need:

3 - 2.5" x 11.5" strips of white fabric2 - 2.5" x 42" strips of white fabric1/2 yard of fabric for the backing1/4 yard of fabric for the binding3 Charmed Gentleman Quilt blocks (or other blocks that are 11.5" square) Sew the 11.5" strips to the blocks: white strip, block, white strip, block, white strip, block, white strip, like in the picture above. Iron open the seams.

Then sew the 42" strips. Iron open the seams.  Your pieced should like the picture below.

Then make yo…

Quilt: Flower Garden

While a first year law student in Chicago and about my second year into quilting, I quickly discovered that quilting was waaay more fun than reading case books. So I made a lot of quilts. This is one of the first that I made and was either a birthday gift or a mother's day gift. Can't remember now. (I am terrible about tracking what and when I made something. This blog is an attempt to keep better track. Anywho, back to the quilt.)

The design is fairly simple, but I really like the flowers because they were fun to make and add a great textural element to the quilt. The law school I was attending at the time is across the street from the Harold Washington Library in the Loop and the library had lots of quilting books. One book featured fabric folding and creating fabric flowers and so because my mom likes flowers, I wanted to make her a fabric garden.

Plus, as I am remembering now, it was still winter (which means I made the quilt for mother's day) and it had been winter f…

Tutorial: A Charmed Gentleman Quilt Block

I was playing around with some triangles cut from a Make Life charm pack to create a quilt block (picture below). I was so proud to think that perhaps I had created a new block. But c'mon, really? Of course the pattern already exists. According to one of my quilting books the block is very similar to the traditional quilt block called Gentleman's Fancy. But mine has a slight twist in that the block is entirely made up of triangles. Want to make one with me?

Step 1 - Select your charm pack squares
Each quilt block uses 12 - 5" squares. Try to select squares that vary in scale and color for maximum contrast in the block's layout..

Step 2 - Cut 2 triangles out of each square

I used a triangle template to cut 2-3" half-square triangles (HST) from each square.  If you don't have a template, you could also just cut each square on the diagonal and end up with 2 HST.

Step 3 - Play with your triangles until you like the layout.
This is the fun part. In my example I decid…

Tutorial: Think It, Make It Pouch

Details on a giveaway at the end of this post.

The single best thing about taking up sewing has been the ability to make things as I need them - throw pillows, gift bags, last-minute birthday gifts, passport covers, etc.

This past Sunday, I was going home to visit my parents as is my usual wont for Sundays, but also wanted to bring some quilting stuff to work on. Well, I decided I needed a pouch (the green one in the picture above) to contain my scissors to prevent any accidental poking or holes. I showed it to my parents who said that I should show you all how to make one.

This pouch is extremely easy to make and goes together quickly. It's also versatile. You can size it to fit whatever you need (covers for a kindle, iPad, small electronic, laptop, paperback, etc.) and it can even be waterproof if you use laminated fabric or vinyl. Use the directions below as a general guide for when you want to make your own.

I recently joined an ugly quilt contest and was paired up with a quil…

Quilt: Pink Polka Dots

A few months ago, my sister asked me to make a baby quilt for her best friend. The friend is pregnant with her first child, a girl. I was more than happy to make it and told my sister to pick a quilt design from the Moda Bake Shop. There were two top contenders (here and here) so I combined design elements from both of them (hearts from one; the words and simple form from the other) to make the quilt.

I had a lot of fun quilting the hearts in the white border and think that the jumbo white ric rac is a fun tactile addition. (If I were the baby, I would find major comfort in sucking my thumb while playing with the ric rac. Just sayin'.) The quilt is backed with a super-soft fabric because baby quilts are meant for cuddling. The final size was roughly 40" square.

I hope she likes the quilt and that the baby uses it to literal pieces.

Creative Diversion: Flowers and Ice Cream

My mom knit a super cute sweater for E. using yarn left over from a blanket she knit for me

and asked me to select some buttons to finish the look.
Flowers and ice cream, anyone?

Using the buttons as inspiration and with some felt I had on hand and lots of scratch paper to make some cutting patterns and some trial and error, I created an ice cream brooch and a flower brooch to decorate the sweater.

Lots of fun to make. And a quick and easy project.

The creative process is...

messy. But, that's part of the fun - looking at fabric and considering all the possibilities. I plan to turn this

into this

because the quilt is pretty, don't you think?  The design is called "Fanciful Flowers" and in a book called Material Obsession.  The big flowers are supposed to be appliqued onto the quilt. Generally I dislike sewing anything by hand and would normally use the zig zag stitch on the sewing machine to applique an image, but not this time. So I will try to applique the flowers by hand using the needle turn method which means that the quilt will likely take me a year to finish.

You can see a close up of one of the flowers here.  Don't you agree with me that a visible zig zag stitch on the flower would detract from its appearance?