Monday, November 28, 2011

Tumbling Blocks Pillow

I have decided to take a break from Maggie's quilt so I can focus on finishing up Christmas presents before it is too late to send them out.

Greg bought me The Essential Sampler Quilt Book for my birthday.  I am hoping to learn new skills by working on the different blocks in this book.  The first block in the book is Tumbling Blocks which is made using English paper piecing and applique.  All of the examples in the book of this block were made with each of the cubes looking the same with one light fabric, one medium fabric, and one dark fabric used in each of the 6 tumbling blocks.  The tumbling blocks look like children's stacking blocks to me, so I thought I would like to have them be more colorful.  Between the scraps I have and some scraps that Beccy gave to me, I was able to pull 6 colors with a light, medium, and dark fabric in each one.  It was great to find that the template fit inside 2 1/2 inch strip scraps since so many of my scraps are that width!  

Once I became familiar with the piecing, I found that I really enjoyed sewing the blocks together.  It is nice to have a project that is small enough to sew it while the family is spending time together instead of being isolated in my sewing room.  The applique was also not as difficult as I had expected it to be, but I am not sure I am doing it correctly.  I would love to have someone who knows how to applique by hand show me what I really ought to have done.  However, I feel like the finished look is what I had hoped for.

I decided to hand quilt inside of each block using coordinating thread.  My stitches are not as even and straight as I would like, but I did get better as I went along.  Before I try to hand quilt again, I want to learn how to bury my ending knots since I was not able to figure that out on this project.  I also will need a different hand quilting frame.  Some straight line echo quilting by machine finished off the background.  I gave the pillow an envelope closure on the back.
Finished Tumbling Blocks pillow
This pillow is for Anna, and I hope it is something she loves now and as she grows.  It is fun, but I don't think that will be too babyish as she grows.  I asked Hannah and Audrey if they thought Anna would like it.  Hannah said that she would.  Audrey said that Anna wouldn't like it so maybe I could just give it to her instead!  

Last year I saw a vintage quilt in a magazine made up of these diamonds made into blue stars on a white background. I thought that the quilt was stunning, but that I could never attempt something so complicated.  After paper piecing this pillow I think I would like to try to make that quilt even though it would be a long term project.  However, I want to see if I could just cut out the diamonds from hexagonal graph paper rather than tracing a template.  I look forward to having a long term hand sewing project for nights when I want to sew, but not be separated from the family.

Now, I need to get more progress done on some shopping bags!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Birthday Weekend

I started my birthday weekend by going to the Quilt-A-Fair at the Boulder Fairgrounds with Rachel, Ben, Katie, and Maggie.  Greg watched the older 3 kids.  It was so neat to see so many different styles of quilts.  Last year was my first year going to the fair and I love that it combines two things I love: quilting and trade shows!  It is an extra bonus that it is always on my birthday weekend and it gives me a great excuse to go without the kids (at least the older ones and Rachel and I are planning on going next year without any kids at all!).  There were a few booths that had some really great prices on fat quarters.  I decided it would be a good time to start looking for fabric for my Farmer's Wife Sampler quilt.  When I got the book this summer I decided I wanted to do it in colors inspired by Maggie's car seat cover.  Finding fabrics was easier since I had Maggie's car seat with me.  I am getting excited about seeing this one come together.  I think it will be a really cheerful quilt.  I love the citrus colors!

fabric to make a Farmer's Wife Sampler

a fat quarter that Katie loved
Katie enjoyed helping me find fabrics that would work in the quilt.  She found the red and white fat quarter here that didn't quite match, but she was so helpful and really loved this one so I bought it anyway.  Evidently, I will do anything for a niece who tells me she wants to learn to quilt!

Butterscotch and Rose charm pack from Beccy
Saturday evening, I opened up a package from Beccy that included a Butterscotch and Rose charm pack!  I have really liked the fabric online, but I wasn't sure what the colors would look like in person.  It turns out to be exactly what I was picturing.  Greg also liked the colors.  Last night I figured out that the reason we like this fabric collection so much is because it combines all of the colors Greg and I have used to decorate our home.  I think we have had all of these colors in our bedroom at one point or another and this should make a quilt that Greg and I will like for many years to come!

Greg also took me out to dinner, I got the chance to go shopping downtown with Kimberly, and Maggie decided to roll over for the first time on my birthday!  This was one of the best birthdays I have had in years.  I feel really blessed.

Progress on Maggie's quilt

While Greg was gone I was able to sew quite a bit since I had most of the evenings alone after the kids were in bed.  After the third evening, I had completed the purple blocks and was already pinning the small yellow squares together.  Everything was going along really well until Thursday afternoon.  I was halfway done with the yellow blocks and Greg was back in the country and would be home within hours.  Then, Greg called letting me know that his flight home was cancelled.  Right after that call, I discovered that I had pressed my first seams the wrong way.  Greg ended up helping me rip the seams this weekend and I finally have the seams pressed the right direction and re-pinned.  I always knew that I needed to measure twice and cut once.  Now I know that I need to check my seams twice in order to only press once.  My plan is to finish the yellow blocks this week and be able to start figuring out the layout of the quilt top.
A sample of the finished purple blocks set around one of the blue setting blocks.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Beginning a quilt for Maggie

While I was pregnant with Maggie, Beccy picked out some fabric for me to use to make a new quilt for Maggie's bedroom.  I had told her that I was thinking of lavender and yellow.  When I arrived at Beccy's house she had a stack of beautiful fabric waiting for me.  I then picked out a pattern to use up the fabric.  It was the first time I have picked out a pattern after the fabric was already chosen and I found it a challenge.  I picked out a tutorial from Crazy Mom Quilts called "The Future's So Bright."  However, I keep going back and forth in my mind about whether it will turn out great or be a complete mess.  I guess I will have to keep putting everything together in order to find out.  This quilt will be my first quilt set on point and I love learning something new with each quilt I make.  

   So far, I have cut out all of the pieces for the top and have sewed the setting squares as well as the smaller purple 4 patch squares.  This week, while Greg is gone, I hope to complete the purple blocks and start on the yellow 4 patch squares.
setting blocks

small purple 4 patches

Car Seat Covers

Besides welcoming Maggie this summer, we knew several other people who were having babies this summer.  I wanted to make handmade gifts and I decided to make car seat covers.  After working on quilts, it was really wonderful to be able to start and finish a project in one or two days.  I just finished another one that isn't pictured this week for another newborn.

This one is for baby Lily.

This one is for baby Joshua.

The kids and Greg decided after the first two that we needed to make one for Maggie as well, so here is hers.  When she outgrows it, I want to use the fabrics to inspire a Farmers Wife Sampler quilt.