Friday, March 25, 2011

A Blockwork Orange

I joined my first block swap on Flickr (man is that addicting!) a few weeks ago and had time to get my blocks done this week during spring break. The block swap is crazy nine patch blocks from the Oh Fransson! tutorial. They are so easy to make and fun too. Originally I was only going to make 18 blocks, with 9 different fabrics....but I went a little crazy! I purchased 20 different orange fabrics (wow!) and made 36 blocks. I have a tone of orange fabric in my stash now so it looks like I will be making a lot of quilts with orange in the future! But it works out because I would love to start selling....maybe on Etsy.
Penny decided to help me while I laid my blocks out into sets of 9 to cut....she thinks she is a great help with every quilt. I shot this picture as she was chewing me out, and then ran to get a toy. :)
And there are my blocks, 36 very orange, wonky blocks. I tried to really focus on getting my seams to match up with these blocks, and I feel that I am getting better! Looking back at the photo of my first quilt, some of the blocks on it are 1/4" off, so much for 1/4" seam allowance. I am so excited to see which blocks I get from the swap, a few of the other ladies picked some fabric that I wouldn't normally choose which will make this quilt fabulous; and maybe seeing the batiks up close on a quilt will bring a new appreciation to these fabrics.

So now it is on to studying for my final Tuesday and writing a couple of papers....spring break was not long enough! Although I did get asked to replace someone in a quilting bee, so I have that to look forward to next month as well as my mom's mothers day quilt! Something tells me my school stuff will be put off for quilting.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Too many babies!

It seems that everyone around me is either pregnant, or just had a baby within the past year. Right now there are 5 co-workers expecting their first baby. And let me tell you, this girl is afraid to drink the water. :) There is no way I would have time to make all these wonderful ladies a baby quilt in time, although I would love to! So I decided to make them quilted taggie blankets. Start to finish these little guys took me about 1 1/2 hours, I even got to try out pebble quilting on one of them.
It was really fun to do, but a lot of thread went into this technique. I love the way it turned out, maybe with a little more practice I will have the courage to do it on a quilt.
So here are three soft and fun taggie blankets for the most soon to be mommies and their babies, 2 boys and one girl. I am not one to use pink for girls very often, but it sure is fun! The other two are great for the boys, one mom is doing her nursery in a monkey theme, the other is using green and browns.
And the angry Donald toy is for our future baby (a few years from now) my hubby insisted on getting him in Disney World on our honeymoon, Donald is his favorite. :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Fun

I've been working on the full size Colors of Hope quilt for a Relay For Life auction today. I have all the blocks for the top finished and ready to put it all together. As I was ironing my pieces, two thoughts came to mind...

1. How do you press your or to the side? I think I like the open seams the best, they look great when quilting, but it sure is time consuming!

2. I think this is my favorite part of quilting. I love pressing the blocks and admiring the fabrics up close! How about you, what is your favorite part of quilting?

Here is the full size quilt on my "design wall." Which is a piece of batting I had left over a few months ago that I pinned on the only open wall space in our office/sewing room (behind the door.)

I used a few scraps from the back of the mini quilt next to the HOPE letters that have a bird next to each; one with the word "strength" the other with the word "faith." I love the way the HOPE letters turned out on this one and I think having it in the upper left area looks fun. Now to sew it and find some material for the back. I wanted to have this done by Wednesday, but there is no way that is happening. Finished it will be 48" by 60", a small lap quilt but still a good size for snuggling on the couch. I hope it raises a lot of money for such a good cause!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pieced Back Together

It has been a very LONG week in my house. Everything has seemed to be done in pieces as I try to find time to get it all done, cleaning, studying, writing, teaching, meetings, dinner with friends. I had very little time to be creative this week. After returning from class tonight I came home to this:

I thought since I didn't really have much to blog about I would share what I worked on over the weekend, which goes along with this photo. These are my husbands art pieces from his most recent class, luckily the class is over and he really didn't want to keep them. Now I wouldn't say my dog is naughty, although my parents and in-laws would most likely disagree. She doesn't tear things up often, unless you count my note cards and other paper left on our near the couch. :)
When Penny was adopted two years ago, she was 12 weeks old and kept in a large kennel in our office to keep her, and our furniture, safe. When she reached 2 years we decided to put the kennel away and give her free reign of the house, and she has done great....with a few exceptions.  She loves paper....and my quilts.
I love to drape a quilt over the couch, and occasionally they will slip and she will chew pieces out of the quilt...
So this weekend I decided to fix these quilts with a few patches.  I had to get a little creative, but I really like the way they turned out. I used Heat n' Bond iron on adhesive and scraps from my scrap bins. The adhesive worked well to keep the pieces in place as I lined the patches up on each side and it held them in place as I stitched them on with some fun stitches on the sewing machine that I never get to use.
For the Star Wars quilt, I had to sew 5 patches! For this one I used a piece of the sheet I had left over to match the fabric on this side, and the Star Wars logo on the other. It turned out really well and looks great on the pieced side as you can see from this photo I took with the culprit:
My first quilted quilt, the Frolic Quilt, wasn't really my favorite before, but I think the patch adds character to the quilt and I actually like it now! I was afraid that the iron on adhesive would make the patches really stiff, but they softened up pretty good in the wash and I expect them to soften up a bit more as they get used.
I am most upset about the one I made for my husband. It was my favorite quilt that we have kept and the patches just don't look great to me.
Oh well, I now have three patched and folded quilts...and have learned not to leave the quilts draped over the couch anymore. Honestly, Penny really is a good dog! We just have been so busy with work and classes lately, she gets lost in the mix. It sure is a good thing we don't have kids right now! Guess I should take her for a walk before getting some much needed rest, finally spring break is here!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Strep Throat and Inspiration

As a preschool teacher, I have built up a pretty strong immunity to illnesses. After my first year of teaching I have rarely been sick, in fact, as my doctor informed me Monday, I haven't been to the doctor for an illness for 6 years. Enter, my friend strep throat.... So this past few days I have been resting, doing some studying and planning a few new quilts. (as if my workspace doesn't already have enough going on) I also went back to re-evaluate a quilt I have been planning on for my mom.

I have wanted to make my her a quilt ever since I started quilting last year and asked her for help. I have had every intention, last mother's day I tried to come up with a great pattern and fabric for her, but I couldn't. This past Christmas, again I tried and still nothing. The problem: I love modern quilts, colorful maybe a little wonky, full of spunk. My mom is very "country", loves antiques and the quilts in her home, although beautiful, are not my style: think Little House on the Prairie. I want to make her something she will love, but something with a bit of my personality in it as well.

Then I had an idea, she also loves The Wizard of Oz, and there are some fun fabrics out there, so I bought a bunch, but still had no idea what to do. I came up with a plan....but was not sure enough to actually cut the fabric.

Being sick I took some time to check out flickr for inspiration, and I found it! Here is the new inspiration quilt from Lucy & Norman. I love this: the wonky blocks are perfect and Megan even named this quilt "Wonky Yellow Brick Road Quilt." I think this would fit the fabric really well as well as the theme of the movie, the only problem is that nothing about this quilt is traditional like my mom usually goes for. Once I figure out my measurements I really just need to make the first cut and stick with it. Not to mention, I think binding the quilt in the gingham would look great, as well as using it on the backing with some red....
Any thoughts?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Colors of Hope

In 2005 my grandmother lost her battle to brain cancer. That summer I participated in the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life. It was amazing to see so many people come together to fight back against cancer. I met an amazing woman through our Relay For Life, a woman that touched so many lives and brought an amazing attitude with her in her fight against breast cancer and shared her story here with the world. Her name was Tracy, she lost her battle last month. Tracy was a true inspiration, she kept positive, even though it was very difficult and was able to raise over $100,000 for cancer programs and research during her six years fighting the disease. In honor of Tracy I will try to raise $1,000 this year, I also made a quilt. This is my mini-quilt called "Colors of Hope". Each color block represents a cancer.
yellow: Bladder cancer
black: Melanoma
burgundy: Multiple Myeloma (close friends' mom)
blue: Prostate cancer (grandpa)
orange: Leukemia
teal: Ovarian cancer
peach: Uterine cancer (grandma)
clear: Lung cancer ( &
lime green: Lymphoma
grey: Brain cancer (friends' dad,
white and teal: Cervical cancer
gold: Childhood cancers
light yellow: Sarcoma/Bone cancer
burgundy and ivory: Head/Neck cancer
kelly green: Kidney cancer
purple: Pancreatic cancer
dark blue: Colon cancer
pink: breast cancer (Tracy & friend)

I love the way this turned out, and plan to auction it off at a local fundraiser in a few weeks. I plan to make a full size now, to auction off and another mini to keep for myself, I am definitely making it a bit larger though. I wanted the color blocks to stand out so I made them two inch blocks and used scraps of white I had laying in my scrap bin. I had to be fussy when cutting, to make it wonky. Due to this the seams overlapped when stitched together which made it hard to press. Not to mention the
HOPE letters were a big pain! Each letter finished at   1 1/2", including the white space between (yikes.)
I was inspired by this mini quilt at crazymomquilts.
The backing fabric I found at my favorite local quilt shop, it is from Linda Lum DeBono for Henry Glass called Inspiration. The words printed all over are what sold me, they are perfect for this mini-quilt. When I saw it I only purchased a fat-quarter, not planning to make a large quilt. I hope they have some yardage left for when I make the full size quilt!

Since my first year participating in Relay For Life I have so many more reasons to join the fight against cancer. If you are interested in more information about Relay For Life or any services from the American Cancer Society, follow the link at the side of my blog. Also, if you would like to support me in reaching my $1,000 goal, the link will take you there as well. I can't wait to work on the full size quilt now!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Things I've learned

I have never been taught how to quilt. I don't really follow patterns much either. My mom made a few quilts when I was a kid but all I remember of that was her screaming at the "f@*$ing sewing machine." Let me tell you, after inheriting that machine I understand why she swore so much. I have learned A LOT this past year, and continue to learn more each day as I sit down at my workspace and create. Some things that come to mind are:

1. Chain stitching is a great time saver as well as money saver. On a preschool teacher's salary and both my husband and I going to school as well, any amount of $ saved making quilts is appreciated!

2. Warm N' Natural batting is the best. And it is most affordable at Jo'anns by the bolt and with a fabulous 50% off coupon.

3. Cheap fabrics from Jo'anns, although more affordable, will most likely bleed....especially when red. Which I learned from doing this quilt for my friend's baby, Ana: "Repeat"

4. A glass of wine or a nice cold beer paired with free motion quilting is great at relieving tight muscles to get your quilt moving.

5. Music is a must, thanks to Pandora and the endless music choices.

6. There are so many talented quilters in the blog-world that have easy to understand tutorials, they have been great teachers and wonderful inspiration for me. I especially have enjoyed AmandaJean and Elizabeth Hartman.

7. Have an easy to use calculator handy and double check your measurements and the placement of your ruler before cutting....twice.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I am finishing my bachelor's degree, finally, after teaching with my assiociate's degree for the past 7 years. Right now I have a paper to write, a group project to work on, a bunch of power points for my online Entomology class that I need to listen to, plus a test and quiz I could be studying for. However, what I really want to do is work on some quilting! Especially a wall hanging I am doing for a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.
Which looks like more fun to you.....?

And did I mention it is also 53 degrees outside and the dog is begging for a walk!