Friday, January 29, 2010

This post is brought to you by the number 2.

I missed Finished For Friday last week, which is hosted by Lit and Laundry every week. I was trying for a quilty finish every week this month, but missed it. I did have a finish last Friday- I finished being 33! My birthday was Saturday, and not one, but TWO of my aunt-in-laws offered to babysit for us, so we got to go out on both Friday and Saturday nights. (TWICE in a row!!) Happy Birthday to me!!

I did (finally) get the TWO baby quilts bound this week so they are ready to go to their new owners on Monday.

For my birthday Paul went with me to TWO new-to-me quilt stores in Green Bay, and I chose a yard of fabric at each. (See how good I was? Only TWO new yards of fabric!)
Jane Sassaman designed this one for me:
Amy Butler kindly thought this one up just for my birthday:
THEN we went to Joann's and I got a new cutting mat! Yay! Paul was quite a good boy during our outing, although he did try to borrow my scarf to hang himself at one point.
The boys spent Saturday night sleeping over at their great-aunt and uncle's house, so during my peaceful quiet morning with NO CHILDREN I made myself a present- a new bag like the one I made for my cousin.
I used a bright green (thrifted) linen tablecloth to make this bag:

The lining is polka dots of course, and I put pen pockets in again. Loving those.

I cannot believe how much more I can get done with no little, mmm, helpers we'll call them.

I addition to binding the baby quilts, in the past two weeeks, I finished TWO quilt tops. Well, finished the centers anyway. This is my Cherry Checkerboard quilt I am making to use up the cherry applique squares left over from Cherry Surprise. I finished making all the blocks and stitched them together, but I still need to put the borders on. It turned out very narrow, which I don't like, but in order to get the Irish chain to look right, this was the layout I had to use. (It's about 60" x 84" at this point with no borders added.) I think as I add each border I will make the side ones an inch wider than the top and bottom ones to kind of fix this issue.

This next one has been sitting in my WIP box for FAR too long. I finally stitched the petals down on all the flowers. (It took me a while to collect the right thread colors.) I am not quite sure what I will do for borders on this one. It will be a play mat/blankie for my newest niece, Baby Autumn, who is just the cutest thing in the world. She loves to stare at my Mom's ceiling fan, so I think she will like this.

A closeup of the satin stitch holding the petals down.

My SIL should be able to wash this a hundred million times with no problems. These babies are ON there.

So that's what I've been up to. If you have a finish to share, head over to Lit and Laundry and join in! Be sure to compliment her beautiful hexagon quilt. It's gorgeous!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Kindergarten Bag

Here are some more pictures of the "Kindergarten Bag" being modeled in my home. I had posted about it before I sent it to the recipient, but thought I would give an update. This bag is the one I sent to Brady's kindergarten teacher for Christmas and she sent a note home saying that she loves it and uses it all the time. YAY! It's awesome to hear things like that. She also said she gets lots of compliments when she is using it, so that was nice to hear, too.
This tote is called a "Kindergarten Bag" because you can put a standard sized kindergartner in it and carry him/her around for an indefinite amount of time. (The bag won't rip or tear, but you may.)
Here the bag is shown holding an actual kindergartner. Note the smile and general air of well-being evidenced by the child. This happy feeling is DIRECTLY caused by the fact that he is IN A BAG.
The Kindergarten Bag can also hold a pre-schooler as evidenced here. (This child does not actually have a deformity. The discoloration on his face is caused by the quite common childhood ailment "Koolaid moustache"*. )

*This is not a life-threatening disorder and can usually be managed with soap and water, depending on the severity of the case. The child with the ailment may not even realize he/she has it until someone mentions it or they see themselves in a mirror, upon which they will demonstrate surprise and possibly dismay. To prevent this ailment from recurring the parent may choose to have the child drink his juice, punch or koolaid with a straw. Although that will present it's own set of issues.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Finish For Friday- applique bag

Another Finish For Friday!! I am 3 for 3 this month!
If you want to join in on Finish For Friday, head over to Lit and Laundry and join in. It doesn't have to be a sewing finish- it can be anything.

I have no quilt finish this week, but I did get a bag done. This one is for my cousin and she has been waiting a while for it.

I am slowly getting better at these as I make more. Each time I make one, I tweak something and make my pattern better. This time I made a stiff "board" for the bottom on the inside. I just used the lining fabric, 2 thicknesses of the interfacing and then quilted it with close lines. It really helps the bag hold it's shape. The bag is very large (18" wide x 16" tall x 8" deep) so it tends to be a little floppy. I like the bag to stand on it's own, so I use the heaviest interfacing I can find. Another tweak I made this time was in the large pocket. I put a layer of interfacing in the fabric for the pocket, which keeps it from sagging open.

I have been admiring Joanna's very recent applique art quilt and also a less recent one. I liked how she mixed brights with brown, so that is what I did for my applique on this bag. I liked how it turned out so much that I am making myself a bag like this one, too.

I love the brights and brown together, but would not have come up with that on my own, so thanks, Joanna!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Finish for Friday- vintage sheet quilt

I have a Finish for Friday again! I am shooting for one every Friday this month. You can join in, too. Just hop on over to Lit and Laundry to see what others have finished, and maybe even post something of your own!

My finish is the quilting on this vintage sheet quilt- I had the top done already but was procrastinating (of course) with the quilting. This quilt is for Paul's cousin's little girl, Sydney. I made one for her new baby brother and realized I had not made one for her when she was born. Her parents just bought a new-old house and coincidentally her bedroom is going to be orange and pink!

I did the closely spaced wavy line quilting again, which is my favorite quilting technique right now. I think it goes especially well with the vintage sheets because it reminds me of how old bedspreads were quilted.

The back is a cute, BRIGHT vintage sheet as well. Everything in this quilt is from an upcycled sheet, except for the flower head itself, which is from a kit that was supposed to be used to make placemats. Some of the sheets are not extremely old, but they are all used/recycled. They. Are. So. Soft. This is the first quilt that I have made entirely from vintage sheets and I have to make one for myself!!! As I was quilting it, I just kept running my hands over the finished part. It feels so GOOD!!!

This is Sydney's baby brother's quilt. I showed a picture of this before, but the quiting was not finished at that point.

I did a version of the same quilting, but switched directions in each square. I won't do that again!!!! I couldn't lock my stitch because the machine kept switching directions when I did that so I had to pull all the tails to the back and knot them.

There are over a thousand little knots on the back of this quilt. Which means I pulled half that many tails through to the back. Not fun.

It looks really nice, but was not worth the effort. I think the straight line all the way down the quilt looks almost as good for about a quarter of the effort.

So maybe by next Friday I will have them bound and ready to go to their new little owners!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Another semi-finished quilt

I hereby declare January 2010 "The Month of the Finished Quilt"! I would declare 2010 "The YEAR of the Finished Quilt", but I really don't think I could handle the pressure for an entire year.
So here is a finished quilt top:

And back:

This back is totally inspired by a quilt I saw on Flickr. It's such a simple, but effective, layout. And it makes this quilt reversible! Now we will find out if I can keep the back and the front even while I quilt it. I made the border on the back a couple inches larger than it has to be all the way around, so I did leave myself a little wiggle room. After I trim it, theoretically, it will have 6" strips of white all the way around to match the inner ones.

A gratuitous shot of my oh-so-cute helper (for once, not one of the cats):

I had to show a closeup of this fabric because it matches the fish skeleton appliques SO well. I got it during a sale at a quilt store near my hometown- Jeri's Quilt Patch. They have a huge sale every year where the fat quarters are a DOLLAR! So these were an awesome deal, but some of the other fabric was NOT so that made up for it.

I actually had this quilt laying out on the (washed) (well, wiped down) floor to baste, when I realized my batting wasn't big enough. So I can't quilt it until I get some batting. But I almost finished a quilt. I intended to!
I didn't want to waste a clean floor so I did baste a baby quilt and I will hopefully have an actual finish for the end of the week. But maybe not. No pressure.