Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's a work in manic process

Christmas is almost here!  My girls got American Girl dolls from their grandmother for Christmas.  They got them  when we were in Virginia for Thanksgiving.  I had it in my mind to do doll quilts for them.  Two are completed.  One, I like. The other I hate.  I just want to put it in the trash, but my husband thinks that would be silly.  I'm going to share, hoping that my picture doesn't end up pinned to Pinterest as a "What not to do" quilt board.

A few weeks ago I made the Japanese Charm quilt.  I wanted to put a flange binding on it, but ended up transposing the numbers for the strips.  I cut the binding down, but it was obvious that it wouldn't work.  The mis-cut binding was squirreled away. I've never made a doll quilt, but I have observed that bindings on smaller items are often out of proportion to the item.  Maybe I could use this skinny binding on a doll quilt? It turns out that it was still too skinny for someone on my quilting level.  I hate it.

I don't think I mitered the corners correctly either.  I've never been so frustrated with any of my quilts.  As I struggled with it, I marveled that I have ever managed to complete a quilt.

If I'm being truthful, my frustration started with the quilting.  I didn't originally quilt the borders, and went back and added to those lines.  That is a mistake.

So, I'm undecided on what to do with this quilt.  What do you do, assuming you do occasionally, when you have quilts that you just can't live with?

My second doll quilt went a little more smoothly.  I even did my first cheater binding.!

The quilt lines aren't perfect, but I am pleased with it.  I'm even thankful for the disaster quilt.  I learned a lot making both of these little boogers.

I don't think my Mama reads my blog, but in case she does- she should go away.  The next is a result from my Word Play Bee.  The blue was an unfortunate color coordination on my part, but I didn't hate it enough to duplicate the work in another combo.  The border is a bit different than planned.  I sent all of the solid crossweave I had to each member.  I didn't get the leftover fabric back from everyone, so I had to nix the solids from the border.  I used every single scrap of the print in the border.  It was a close one.  So- lesson learned.

It's a quilt, obviously, for my Mama.  The left side (as pictured) is the name of my children- the right their corresponding nick names.  On the back- her "grandmother" name which is:

Rhymes with Panini

My backings end up huge because I use the entire WOF.  I made the middle panel first, and then made a tube with the other fabric.  This way, I only have to do one cut (in this case tear) down the fabric.  I'm comfortable doing it this way, but I think I'm probably wasting a lot of fabric.

I'm getting ready to quilt this sucker- today.   I'm going to do "organic lines" as coined by Tallgrass Prairie Studios.  I'm binding it in gray Heath, and I've thought about doing the lines both horizontally and vertically, but I just don't know!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tooth Fairy Pocketed Patch Pillow

Something big happened at our house today.

Yep, my baby girl lost her first baby tooth.  It happened in a flash.  Recently friends have posted to FB pictures of their children and their gaps, and I thought- wow, Ada doesn't even have a loose tooth.  Last night that changed, and today, the tooth was out.  I thought I'd have a little bit of time to whip up a pillow, but  no such luck.  She lost her tooth at about 3pm.  I decided to make her a pillow out of my favorite fabric-  Sarah Jane. 

I'm always excusing my pictures, but I have a camera that's nicer than my picture taking abilities.  Something is funky about the flash.  Couple that with poor lighting in our home and the late hour, and well, I'm sure by now you're buying the excuses for my poor pictures.  There is no such excuse I can offer for the following tutorial.  It is as clear as mud, but I hope the inferior pictures make it understandable enough to do on your own- should you too need to make a tooth fairy pillow quick like.


-2 pieces of fabric about 9x7 (1 for background, another for backING)
-3 scrap pieces of fabric for front panel

1. Sew two strips of scrap fabric together and hem a seam of the top strip.  This is going to be your pocket.

2. Put these pieces on top of your background fabric.

3. This is where it gets a little tricky.  You need to take your third piece of scrap fabric and position it right sides together over the strips, and the background fabric.  (You're working without a pattern here, and basically what you are doing is freepiecing a patchwork square, or in this case, a rectangle- of sorts.) With a 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew from top to bottom across the background fabric and the strips

4.  Press your seam, flip it over, press the panel.  Easy peasy.

5. Square it up and you're done (with the top), but the hard part is over.

6.  Now, get your backING fabric and cut it to fit the panel you've just created. 

7. Put the backing and your panel right sides together and pin.

8.  Sew all the way around. Leave a gap for stuffing.  Note that my gap is at the bottom.  A better place would've been one of the sides.  

9. Trim your corners.

10.  Go to your kitchen drawer and get those chopsticks that you don't know why you have.  If you don't have said chopsticks, snag a pair next opportunity, stick them in your purse and remember to put them in your kitchen drawer.  Forget that you have them until you need to pull the outside out of the inside of something. 

11.  Ta da.  

12.  Stuff (chopsticks handy here also ) and close your hole.  (In my case- have your Mama do it because your own whipstitch is sad- very sad).

I'll get a better picture of the finished project in the day time. 

Of course you could make this pillow as simple, or complicated- or wonky as it suits you.  I thought about adding an extra piece to the left, leaving a tiny pocket in the middle, but settled on quick and dirty.  Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

Also, how much does the Tooth Fairy leave these days?  My husband says a quarter. I convinced him that that wasn't nearly enough.  He went up to $1- but that's what I got 30 some-odd years ago.  Has inflation hit the TF?  Ada hasn't decided if she wants the TF to take her tooth, so it may be a moot point.  

Winner Announcing Day

Giveaway week culiminates with winner announcing day.  I never imagined that I would have over 200 comments, and thanks to everyone who followed- putting me into double digits.  I tried to respond to all the comments, but missed a few.  I'm in the process of checking out all of your blogs.  But, I want to give out my heartfelt thanks to everyone who took the time to leave a comment.  The winner is: 

Sissy who said: 

Thank you for this give away and reminder about "no reply blogger." I am half way thru the blog hop when I discovered I was "no reply." (sad face)
I love to make baby and children's quilts. they are quick, easy, well received and I can FMQ with my little Kenmore sewing machine. I love your redheaded babies. I had two (now grown). My last child was the only non redhead/freckled child. I love the back of the eye spy quilt. love scrappy backs. Def want to follow your blog. Don't feel bad about not writing often. I get so far behind on my blog..too busy with life to sit at computer. ok, thanks again and enjoy this season with your beautiful children.

Seriously, take a minute and check your reply status. You'd be surprised at the number of people who entered who were no-reply and didn't leave an email.  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A charm(ing) and novel(ty) giveaway

I want to type something wonderful and witty to want to make you come back here after this Giveaway Day at Sew Mama Sew is long over.  But, nothing charming has come to mind.  Nothing novel at least.

My name is Manda.  I'm a librarian turned stay at home, homeschooling, sometimes quilting, rarely blogging -Mama.  I started quilting a little over a year ago after my family had to uproot our lives in Virginia and move to Alabama for work.  Quilting made those first few lonely months bearable.  I come from a long line of quilters.  In fact, I still sleep each night with a quilt that my great-grandmother made for me.  But, I never took interest in the craft as a young person, so I don't have any great stories about learning to quilt from either one of them, although I am happy to continue the tradition.  Even now, my mother and I have two different quilting styles, so I don't go to her for a lot of things.   However, without her to wind bobbin after bobbin for me until I learned, I wouldn't be the so-so quilter I am today.  I'm happy to report that I am an excellent bobbin winder these days.  With any luck, and with a lot of practice, my children- and one day grandchildren- might treasure quilts made by me.

My kids love I-Spy quilts. I love working with novelty fabric.  Here are some quilts I've made over the past year:

1. Quilt for Maggie Rose, 2. Ada's I Spy- back, 3. Ada's I Spy- front, 4. birthdayquilt2

My oldest daughter and baby son have one.  My middle daughter is waiting patiently for hers.  She's going to be lucky enough to be the recipient of a Spoonflower I-Spy quilt.  I've been fortunate enough to participate in Spoonflower swaps.  One was a small swap.  We ended up with pairs of squares, and I'm happy to offer my duplicate charms in this giveaway. There are also some pairs of Japanese charms I have left over. Maybe you're too a Spoonflower swapper?  Maybe you could use these in a mug rug, or doll quilt?

You will also receive these scraps of novelty fabric.  I've entered several I-Spy swaps and sometimes have extra yardage leftover.  I never know what to do with it, and I'm not one good at saving and remembering to use what I have. These are all large pieces.  If you don't like novelty fabric, then I guess this isn't too exciting of a giveaway for you.

The giveaway is open to anyone who can type.  I'll ship anywhere my post office allows me to ship.  This is the holidays, and I have three small children, so I do appreciate some understanding if I don't get to the post office the day the giveaway closes.   The giveaway will close on the 16th at 7 central standard time.

Mandatory entry- please comment below.  Maybe tell me about a special handmade gift you've either given or received.  The longer-windier, the better(read for me), but it won't improve your chances of winning. Neither will becoming a follower, but I have my candy canes crossed that I'll reach double numbers!  The winner will be picked at random by generating a number at

But, before you leave, I have to have you look at my cute babies!

Merry Christmas, Y'all!

Willa, Ada, and Micah

Santa and Micah

Willa (with shoes on the wrong feet) and Ada with Mrs. Claus and Jingles the Elf

Be sure to stop by Sew Mama Sew to enter hundreds of giveaways today!

PS.  Please make sure that I can reach you.  If you are chosen, and you didn't leave your email, and you are set to no-reply, I'll go to the next person.

Edited to add: 

P.P.S. Please check your blogger profile to make sure that you aren't a no-reply blogger.  I was for a while without realizing it.  There are a handful of people who've entered thus far that won't be able to win because they are no-reply and didn't leave an email.  I hate to think of all that wasted time spent entering giveaways over the next week.

P.P.S.S.  I may not be home to close the comments for the giveaway, so if you can comment, it's still open.  I anticipate that it won't be much later than 7pm CST.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Giveaway Day ~ December 12!

I'm going to be participating in Giveaway Day next week. I have some leftover Spoonflower charms, a couple of Japanese charms, and some pretty large pieces of novelty scraps that the I-Spy lover might like to have.

Giveaway Day ~ December 12!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Quilt for Margaret Rose

I can't even excuse my iPhone for the poor pictures. This is my good camera, but at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon.  These charms you see in this quilt were collected from the Japanese Charm Swap over at GenX Quilters.  The pattern is from Made by Rae.  I have a confession to make, but more on that later.

I used Mettler Silk Finish thread for the quilting and can I say Yum-my. I'm an Auriful die hard, but this thread is wonderful.    This is not my 1st try at straight line quilting.    I also straight line quilted Ada's I Spy Quilt, but that was a bit different. Since it was diagonal lines, I could start and finish the lines easily off the edges of this quilt.  In quilting this,  I was lost when it came to changing the bobbin, or starting and stopping a new line.  Do you "lock down" your stitch?  I did, although not consistently, and it shows.  The quilting isn't perfect, but I'm pleased.  Many thanks to my Mr. for drawing all those lines for me.  Turns out, the rows weren't all that even.  I never would've finished it.  If I were better at math, I'm sure quilting would be more enjoyable, but don't tell Miss and Mrs. Wilbourne I said so.  ( I was educated by a daughter for two years in middle and then her mother for two years of high school.)

I had originally planned to bind this with a flange binding, and it was going to be so cool, but I transposed the measurements and cut the strip widths wrong and ended up wasting a good bit of my Kaffe Fassett Stripe. (much gnashing of teeth).  In the end, I just decided to do a plain old binding, but a bit skinny.  I cut my binding to 2.25.  

My girls wanted to pose with the quilt.  Ain't they some cuteness?

I put my spoonflower label right smack dab in the middle of the back, well, because that was the only place to put it without covering the quilting.  I started to make a pieced back for this one, but I decided to keep it simple.  I made the label according to this tutorial.

I know you didn't forget about my confession.  Basting purist should stop here.  

I spray basted this quilt, and I LOVE IT.  It was the 1st quilt where I didn't have some sort of issue with slippage.  This sucker was secure.  Originally I decided to use the adhesive because it's all linen, and I expected it my be a bit slippy as my 3 year old would say.  After my experience, I don't think I could go back to pin basting again.  I know that it is significantly more expensive than one batch of basting pins, but my goodness, the $13 I paid for the can of 505 was well worth it.

So, there you go, my first quilt finish in months, and this was a quick one!  It's washed and dried, and ready to be packaged to ship to a waiting Maggie.

Name: Japanese Charm
Pattern: Storytimes Quilt- Made by Rae
Quilting: Straight-line channel quilting on my Janome 8050
Thread: Mettler silk finish (in natural I think)
Backing and sashing: Essex Linen- Putty
Fabric:  Japanese Fabric Charms
Binding: Kaffe Fassett  Serape in Green

Saturday, November 12, 2011

October Bee Blocks

I never got around to posting my October Bee Blocks.  Since it was my month as queen at SMQB2, I didn't have any blocks to make, but I did have word blocks to make.  I have to tell you, I'm really REALLY loving making letters and words.  If you haven't tried it, you should.

Can you guess what kind of quilt Alison is making?


Thelma Lou



Head over to the Word Play Bee to check out the other blocks.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Japanese Charm

Baby quilt made by using Made by Rae tutorial and Japanese Import swap charms. Better photo when sun is out.  Sashing is Essex Linen Putty. by stayathomelibrarian
., a photo by stayathomelibrarian on Flickr.
I know it's an awful photo. Besides being too lazy to connect my camera to my computer, it's starting to have shutter issues. I have an SLR that is just too much camera for me. I need a decent camera that will post photos directly to social media.  We're having an overcast day here in Alabama, so this is the best my iPhone can do for now.

On to the quilt. I whipped this up yesterday.  It's made using Japanese Charms from the 1st swap over at Gen X quilters.  The pattern I got from Made By Rae.  I did have some issues with getting the rows to meet up at the corners, but this could be my own error.  If I had to guess, I would say it's ironing related, but I really can't say for sure.  If making this quilt, please note that you need 48 squares (the quilt calls for 40), and 10 strips of 3 inch selvage to selvage strips. The pattern called for 8.  I think this must be if you don't mind seams.  I wanted continuous sashing, so I opted to cut more strips.

I originally planned on using Essex Natural for this project, but Brenda over at Pink Castle Fabrics talked me into some putty with a picture she posted of a project she'd made using it.  I do like the natural better, alone, but the putty  was the "natural" choice for this quilt.

I'm not sure how I want to go forward with this quilt. The pattern calls for "cheater" backing and binding, but I'm afraid to mess this quilt up.  I do think I'm going to back it with putty, bind it with putty, but use some of my Kaffe Fassett Serape Stripes to do a flange binding, in order to break up the monotony between the sashing/binding/backing all being the same color.

This baby quilt is for my little sister from college.  She became a mama last month after years and years of waiting. Welcome to the world Margaret Rose.

My other WIPs only continues to grow.  I have another Shot Cottons Baby Quilt I've yet to finish.  Stuck on that one creatively. Since my last post, I also started on a Houndstooth quilt for my hubby for Christmas.  I ran out of black, and had to order some from Brenda.

The quilt I would mostly like to finish is my spider web quilt.  I'm still thinking of trying my hand at a swap and doing a "jelly roll" type swap where participants trade 2.5 inch strips instead of charms.  I've put a bug in the ear of Jennifer at Ellison Lane Quilts.  I should really do the swap myself. Maybe after the holidays.

Spider web quilt

My bee buddies really stepped up this time and sent me some killer blocks for Willa's doll quilt.  I'm waiting for two more.  Beth is a newlywed with machine issues right now. This our second round in this bee.  After hearing some stories, I think I'm fortunate to have lucked out with these ladies. Only one of our members when MIA, the person who started the bee ironically enough. I sent them Sarah Jane!  I <3 it. Here's some eye candy:

I don't know why I keep forgetting about my Rainbow Diamond Quilt.  I quilt on one of Janome's basic machines.  It's the one marketed for Hancock's.  There's a comparable version available from dealers, but I don't remember the name. I'm having trouble with the HSTs, well, they are really quarter square triangles technically, they keep getting snagged in my feed dogs.  I don't know how to explain it, but it is annoying.  I just got the Auriful Rainbow variegated thread, so I don't have really real excuse for not working on this one. I could do a block a week and get it done faster than it is currently getting done.

Diamond Rainbow Quilt- side view

Diamond Rainbow block
a look at the individual block

I'm working on 2 secret quilts.  Both are word quilts.  One is for someone I know who lost a child in a car accident this year.  Her daughter's 9th birthday is coming up, so that quilt, once the blocks start coming in will be my absolute priority.  My mom is going to do some hand applique on it.

Katherine at Honeyhill Designs  has sent me some wonderful embroidery tutorials, so I think I'm actually going to embroider my 2 family tree quilts.  They are Christmas quilts.  Didn't last Christmas just end?  We're going on vacay to Virginia, and I plan to embroider on the car ride up.  Actually, I suffer from motion sickness, so this is a pipe dream, but as long as I don't look out the windows, and stay focused on what's in my hands, I can at least give it a try.

We recently finished round 2 of the bowtie swap.  I just need to sew those things together to have that bowtie quilt top done.  It's a cute quilt, but I don't love it, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn to let go of things you've created.

My 4 year old asked me this morning where her I-Spy quilt was.  Her brother and sister both have them. I have the charms, but I don't want to start any new quilts until I get some of these done!  I think she sees her doll quilt, she might forgive me for a little while.

I also participated is a Christmas Charm Swap, and I'm just waiting for the charms to come back.  I have 2 ideas for the charm.  A Christmas I-Spy, and this Advent Calendar at Sew Mama Sew.  Maybe next year.

There are other unfinished projects, but this seems to be the theme over at WiP Wednesday.  I'm happy to be in good company.  But, you don't have to wonder why I don't have time to blog.  This has taken me almost an hour, and we've still got homeschool to do today once we get lunch and I put the baby down for a nap.  But, quilting keeps me sane!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I'm happy to finally have something to show.

No doubt, I did finish my 4x5 Modern Bee Blocks , ahead of schedule, so go look at those.   They even got mailed and some have started to arrive.  (If you're coming here from Freshly Pieced- that lime, aqua and green Oregon star block is destined for me! ) I'm more proud of myself than I probably should be about the finish, but, I'm a wait to the last minute kind of person.  Which is why, I'm more happy to share this WIP.  It's a- CHRISTMAS present- started before Halloween!   The plan is to have both of these done before Thanksgiving.  I am more than a little freaked about learning how to embroider the names.  I do have a very good friend with a fancy smancy embroidery machine, but I'm thinking I should do them by hand.  Thoughts?  Suggestions?  Favorite tutorials?

So, about the panels.  This Sarah Jane fabric is my first official fabric crush.  It took over a year, but it was love at first sight.  When I saw this panel quilt on her blog, I just had to have it.  I'm sure you know, but it's Children's Play by Sarah Jane, and it's produced by Michael Miller.

My projects:
  • Spiderweb quilt (no progress)
  • Diamond Rainbow Quilt- this one is driving me crazy. The corner seams are getting caught in my feed dogs.  I think maybe I should re-iron all these little boogers and try again.  Maybe it's an issue with my machine.  I dunno.  
  • Wonky Shot Cottons Log Cabin (no progress)
  • Secret Christmas Present (got the  fabric waiting on the bee blocks)
  • My husband reminded me of a flannel D9P I started last year, and well- forgot!
  • Cream Dolls square quilt- October is my month in my Simple Modern Quilt Bee, and I sent Sarah Jane fabrics and asked for some pieced blocks.  Wait with bated breath for those to start showing up on my blog.
Coming Soon:
  • Garden Fence quilt using Children's Play On the Go fabrics.  I'm looking for solids to match the aqua and orange if you happen to know of any.  Sashing will be Kona snow.
  • Houndstooth quilt-  I've got fabric for it.  I just need to sit down and do it.
ASAP list:
  • Deadline for the 2nd round of the Bow Tie Swap is coming up.  I'd planned on making 40, but I might just be happy with 10.  They don't take long to make, but I have a busy few days.  Homeschooling is going great, but it's time intensive.  Mommy time is pretty rare. I'm lucky that I can pawn my kids off to my parents on the weekend, then I sew sew sew.  I've convinced myself that I'd be a pretty decent quilt blogger- if only.  I guess you'll just have to take my word for it.  I'd be lieing, if I hadn't thought- more than once- how much quilting I could get if she were in a brick and mortar school.  
  • Learn to embroider.

Monday, September 26, 2011

4x5 Modern Quilt Bee- a finish

I finished my bee blocks, with time to spare.  They went into the mail this morning.  I ended up making these HSTs the long way.  Overall, I'm pleased with how they turned out.  I had started out with a plan to make the Lucky Pieces block because I liked the X look to it.  As I sketched out the color scheme, I noticed it was also a lot like the Starflower (Ellison Lane Starflower), so I kinda mix-mashed the two and this is what I came up with:  Lucky X, Starpieces?, X flower?