Friday, July 31, 2009

Finish for Friday

You're gonna want to grab a chair- I finished a quilt. As in, I actually quilted it!! This is because... dun! dun! dun! I got a new Bernina 430 and I really really love it and I can even quilt with it!! We are out of town for a wedding now, which brings me to my big finish for the week- it's a wedding gift! But I didn't really know the happy couple's favorite colors or their house's style so I just went with a Christmas quilt.

I made it a nice little matching storage case with a clear plastic window on the front for a page of instructions about how to store and clean a quilt.

With my fancy new machine I was able to use a funky stitch to attach the plastic. I did this really quickly this morning before we left so, shh!- don't tell, but it got a little crooked. (I am being sarcastic about the shh! thing. It is drunken sailor crooked, but when the quilt is in it you can't tell quite as much. I didn't have time to make another one, so, meh, whatever.)I like the idea of a zigzag quilt with no HSTs like Amanda Jean's tutorial, but I wanted pointy points all the way around. So what I did was add a white strip all the way around, except for the left side, where I added two strips. I had intended for this to be an oblong quilt, but ran out of the white on white polka dots, so Paul and I got real cozy with the seamrippers (yes, my wonderful husband helped me rip apart two sets of blocks, but he whined a lot so that kind of took away from the sweetness of it) and the quilt became square. (Well, sort of square. I won't switch sewing machines halfway through a quilt again.) If I do this again I won't put the extra fabric on the sides, but I would do it on the top and bottom.
I finished hand stitching the binding on the way here today. Which is one of my favorite ways to spend a car ride. I actually really like doing the binding. For this one, since there were... issues... with the "squareness" of the quilt, I used a white on white for the binding, too. Normally I like a contrasting binding, but for this quilt, well, not so much.

For the quilting, I did a double stitch in the ditch.

Where I had striped fabric, I cut it so that the stripes go the same direction.

I even made a label for this quilt! (The back is a flannel sheet.)
Just a shot of it hanging over the railing at the motel. You can see how the color is graduated from light to dark.

Unfortunately, the Friday finish over at Lit and Laundry is a sad one this week. I will let you head over and read about her kitty.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dude. I had to.

I wish it was a little more Boone's Farm-y, but it's not bad.
ETA: Wine snobs, don't read any further.
I added some Mountain Dew to it and now it's AWESOME!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The new additions to our family

I have been a bad blogger! I forgot to announce the birth of my beautiful new niece! Future Niece has finally graced us with her presence. She was definitely worth the wait. She had a bit of a rough start, but is doing very well now.

I have proof of her cuteness:

My mom and I were playing dress up with her already and we think she liked it. She is a sweetie and is already satisfactorily spoiled. (Just as a firstborn should be.)

My boys think their new cousin is "so cute" but were wondering if she would turn into a boy when she got bigger.

Mmm, probably not.

I have been promising my boys sock monkeys, so we finally did it! I have been trying to have something done so I can link up to Lit and Laundry's Finish for Friday, so we (I) labored away today (Thursday) and came up with these fellows:

The boys each picked out a pair of socks and this was what they wanted. Not the tie dye ones or cool striped ones. They wanted brown and black. (Are these really my kids?) So they got brown and black. Then they each picked out some button eyes, but Brady said he really really really wanted googly eyes on his, so we super glued some googly eyes right onto his button eyes.

Brady's monkey is named "Blackie". (Brady is a fairly literal child.)

And Lukey's unfortunately named monkey is "Poopy-head".

We will probably be renaming the monkeys tomorrow, especially since Lukey isn't supposed to say that word. The monkeys are snuggled in with their happy owners and hopefully not keeping them awake.

These monkeys were an absolute blast to make- talk about instant gratification! I used this tutorial, which was entertaining as well as informative. I do have 5 nieces, so maybe I will get to make some polka-dotted, stripey cute ones yet...

Now run over to Lit and Laundry and see what everyone else finished up this week!

Lit and Laundry

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Vintage Sheets

I have been seeing a lot of pretty vintage sheet quilts all over in "blogland" lately. I love these and since I love to "thrift", I had already bought a few sheets. When we go out of town, I always look up the local thrift stores and make Paul take me to them. (Better yet, I ditch Paul somewhere and go on my own.) My collection is getting bigger now, but I have yet to make a quilt entirely from vintage sheets. I have used them in other quilts, but I basically just view them as more fabric. I also have been buying old clothes when they are cheap enough. I have a little litmus test: if this was a fat quarter, would I buy it? If the answer is yes I will pay up to a dollar for a shirt or pillowcase or set of napkins or what have you. Any more than that and I will usually leave it there.
This sort of quilting makes me think of the "old ways". My great-grandma, Nanny, was a very prolific quilter. She made what we would call utilitarian quilts and gave them away to anyone in the community who was having hard times. When she was older, she suffered from macular degeneration and was considered legally blind. Her quilts showed it. However, she didn't let a silly thing like blindness stop her! She kept sewing away even if the seams didn't always get caught. I have one of her quilts and even though my mom went through it and tried to fix all the open seams, there are a few areas that are going to need some attention. Nanny used old clothes- polyester, cotton, blends, whatever she had on hand. People would bring her bags of old clothes and she just cut them up and sewed them right up into quilt squares with no thought to color placement at all. Christmas fabric, Halloween fabric, baby prints- everything went together.
Nanny tied most of her quilts, except for the "nice ones" which she would hand quilt. I can remember playing under the frame in her living room- her house was tiny and when the grownups were tying off a quilt there was literally no room to walk around the quilt. If you were on the "wrong side" and wanted to go to the kitchen or bathroom, you had to go out the front door, around the house and then go in the back door. I love that this is my heritage- making do with what you have, making old into new, giving a new life to something destined for a landfill.
Here are some pictures of my vintage sheet stash. There are some pillowcases and tablecloths in there too. The cabinet that I store them in is also my ironing station and it was given to me by my dad's mother. One of my uncles made this in shop class before I was even born. They just don't make things like they used to! Our table which is only 2 years old is in worse shape than this cabinet!
I pulled some of my favorites out and took pictures of them. Since I am poor (lazy) and didn't have (want to run downstairs and find) a quarter, I used a clothespin to show scale.
Can you see the polka-dots in this one? They don't show up true- they are pink like the flowers.
This may be my very favorite.
It says "Oleg Cassini" on it. I googled that but can't find anything that tells me about his vintage bedding. All I find are references to clothing. This is one that will be hard for me to cut into.
I like florals.
I am drawn to butterflies, too. This one is perfect for fussy cutting.
I have three of these- each one is a bit different, but they obviously came from the same line. I have a couple pillowcases in similar patterns also. I plan to cut the squares out and use them basically as a charm pack. The blue ones will go into the centers of some "squares inside of squares" blocks for the back of my quilt for my bed.

This pile is a set of homemade curtains and a "spread" as they called it at St. Vincent DePaul. I got a TON of fabric for $7. I am going to use it as a kind of stack and whack, but instead of squares I will make large Dresden plate type wheels and applique them onto alternating blue and green solid squares. I have some linen tablecloths that match the colors and will use those. I am going to end up with a VERY cool, wild quilt top for around $12.

.This sheet is not very old, but it was so cute I couldn't leave it there.

This floral is "Aunt Grace Ties One On" (I think) and it is a new fabric, as is the black and white polka dot. The green and yellow are vintage sheets, though. Don't they look nice together? I have no qualms about mixing new and old.

These are newer sheets, also, but they are cute. The green whales on pink is a Tommy Hilfiger sheet. It is a bit worn, but I will cut around those parts. Once again, these were too cute to leave there.

The orange and pink sheet is a vintage find, but the white with polka-dots is newer. I got the pink and orange (fitted and flat) from an estate sale down the block from my house and the pink one was a dollar at Goodwill. The pinks match perfectly. (The white and pink one is a Disney sheet and has a ruffle at the top with Baby Minnie on it.)

This blue and yellow pile is all shirts, pillowcases and a set of napkins. I want to make this quilt as sort of a tribute to Nanny and will use her favorite quilt square (churn dash) but I will make it wonky so that it will reflect my style as well. I will use a thrifted white sheet for my setting fabric so this will be another VERY inexpensive quilt top. I am still collecting fabrics for this one.

I hope this post inspires someone to think outside their fabric box. I do buy designer fabric, too, but "reclaiming" fabric makes those pricey fat quarters and half-yards go a lot further. Just don't start shopping at MY Goodwill. Or if you do, leave some good stuff for me.