Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Manly Log Cabin

  Well, this has been quite a week.  I'm officially in the pre-Christmas frenzy of finishing up making gifts, shopping, and trying to wrap up things at work for a nice long 11-day vacation (Hallelujah!).  But I've also been trying to be sure to make time to still spend quality time with my husband and son, since that's what the season is all about!

  For our Triad Modern Quilt Guild meeting last Tuesday, we had a potluck and handmade ornament swap. It was so fun to be able to chat with the ladies, and the variety of the ornaments was amazing!  This is the one I made, modeled on our tree:

  It turned out much bigger than I had planned in my head, but the recipient seemed to really like it, so I'm happy with it.  I also really liked the one I got!

  In addition to a few other gifts which I haven't been able to get decent pictures of yet, I also finished the "manly" log cabin for my father-in-law.  I wish I had gotten some pictures of the his-and-hers quilts together before they were washed and wrapped, but that just means I can force them to model them for me :)  Watch out for some funky pics, these were taken near sunset with crazy winds.

  I am really happy with how this one turned out, even though it is so different from my normal style.  I like the traditional colors with the traditional pattern, and it's always nice to work outside of your comfort zone.  I debated quilting thread colors for ages, and then when wandering around the fabric store, I found a tan-burgundy-navy variegated thread.  It blends in perfectly - it was meant to be! 

  The back is a solid navy blue flannel, which makes this quilt extra warm and snuggly.  I think my father-in-law will appreciate that, as he is diabetic and constantly complains about being cold.  I can't wait to give my in-laws their quilts on Christmas Eve!

  I still have to finish a few other projects, but shopping and most of the wrapping is done.  I'm hoping I'll actually be able to relax the last couple of days before Sunday - doubtful, but we'll see!

  Hope that everyone has a great week leading into Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

MIL Quilt - Finished Christmas Gift

Well, I finally did it - finished a Christmas gift! I have lots more to do in the next 12 days (12 days - eek!), but I am really excited about this one.

My mother-in-law's log cabin quilt is finished. I think the green and purple are really pretty together, and I hope she will love it. This is not really my usual style at all as the fabrics are pretty traditional, but I am very excited to have this one done and like it much more than I expected to. I might even have to steal it back if she doesn't like it!

The backing is a pretty hydrangea print that pulls in the greens and purples from the front along with a light blue. Pretty pretty!

I stippled it all over with a medium purple thread that matches the log cabins. It doesn't show up much at all on the back, which is some parts is a very good thing! (Note to self - do not quilt after midnight on a weeknight...).

The binding is the same Kona purple (grape maybe?) that is used in the cabin centers and the inner border. I think it frames the quilt nicely.

I am sooo glad to be able to at least mark one gift off my list. Now I just have the manly version of this quilt for my father-in-law, a wallhanging for my mom, a pillow for my brother, handkerchiefs for my grandma....Ugh - on second thought, maybe I shouldn't list everything out all at once!

Happy sewing, hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Hooray for the Christmas season! And no, it didn’t start in October, although retailers wanted to make us think it did.
We rearranged the living room and put up our indoor Christmas stuff last weekend, and it makes whole room seem different and cozy. Evan (my son) was ecstatic about getting the stuff out, and was determined to “help” put up the decorations. A few broken ornaments later and here we are – although we are still trying to convince him that ornaments have to stay on the tree and not be taken off and banged on various surfaces.

Note the un-bound (un-binded?) couch on the sofa – slacker alert! But it does match our living room perfectly and in my defense I don’t have the right shade of brown I want to use for the binding. Guess that’s another excuse to go fabric-shopping! I’ll have to make a post about this one when it’s actually finished.
I'm also really excited that I was able to actually have my quilt rack on display. It even got in on the Christmas decoration action!....yes, I am a huge dork.

I did manage to add some homemade Christmas stuff this year. A couple of nights ago I put the binding on this table runner (November 30 – pre-December – woop woop!).

I have been admiring hexagons for a long time, but I avoid hand-sewing like the plague so I didn’t think I’d ever really have much of a project with it. But I found several tutorials online on how to sew them completely by machine using set-in seams. I cut some 4.5 inch hexagons from a set of 5 fat quarters and got to work. It actually wasn’t that hard, just required a bit more time and thought than normal piecing, and I really like the way it turned out. Maybe one day I’ll tackle a bigger hexie project!

Here's hoping for a joyful and low-stress holiday season!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mrs. Log Cabin for Christmas - Quilt Top

Well, thanks to a family-shared stomach flu, Thanksgiving, and putting up Christmas stuff, my poor blog has been sadly neglected. But I haven't been idle on the sewing front and have several new projects to post over the next few days.

My first is my mother-in-law's quilt top for Christmas, which is the girly version of the one I made for my father-in-law. It's much more feminine, and a little bit more modern as well due to the brighter colors. Purple is her favorite color, and after finding this pretty white, purple, and green fabric for the border, I added green as the secondary color for the log cabin blocks.

Sorry for the terrible pictures, but it's dark when I get up and dark when I get home, so no time for daylight pictures recently! Guess I'm just going to have to take some long lunches....I'll definitely have better pics for the finished product.

I have this quilt basted with a great hydrangea print that pulls in the purples and greens as well as "hydrangea blue." So ahead of time - already basted and it's not even December. This means I have no excuses for this not to be finished Christmas Eve...but I'm sure I'll think of something!

This week I am working on the in-law quilts and a few projects for the Triad Modern Quilt Guild. I'm also working on not getting sidetracked. Why is it that when you have a bunch of things going on at once that you always want to add something else? Guess life is just more fun that way!

Friday, November 11, 2011

First Christmas Gift Underway

Every Christmas, despite my best intentions, I usually end up scrambling at the last minute to figure out gifts. Over the last couple of years, nearly every member of my family has gotten some kind of handmade gift from me – with the exception of my in-laws. They are insanely hard to shop for, and I’m never really sure about their tastes and interests as they change a lot. Regardless of my probably needless worrying, I decided that this year, it’s their turn. I’ve been pretty unsure about what kind of quilt to make for them (color, pattern, traditional vs. modern, etc.), so I did finally ask them what types of colors they like while visiting them. I got "purple and some blues" from mom-in-law, and “I don't like any colors. Except green – for money!” from my father-in-law, the resident joker. Not so helpful. I debated about patterns for ages before finally deciding to do something small and simple so that they could each have their own quilt in the same pattern. I found a simple log cabin lap quilt free pattern from Connecting Threads, which has traditional log cabins surrounded by a border. I decided to do blender/tonal fabrics in the log cabins and a busy print for the border, which would determine the color scheme.

For my father-in-law’s quilt, I just wanted “manly” colors. This was actually kind of a stretch for me since I gravitate towards bright and bold colors in quilts. I found a tan/maroon/navy print – perfect.

I’ve already put the top together, and it was really fun to work with colors that are different from my norm. Despite being manly (I hope) and uber-traditional, I really like the way it’s looking so far. I can see why log cabins and all their variations are still so popular.

Now here’s hoping I can actually put a backing together and get this thing quilted before Christmas Eve!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival - 36 Patch

I am a relatively new blogger, but I have admired the Blogger’s Quilt Festival for ages. I am so excited to finally have my own entry!

My quilt is called the Picnic Quilt, as named by my husband, and was created as part of the 36 Patch Quilt-Along over at crazymomquilts. This was my first QAL, and I really enjoyed seeing the huge variety created by different people putting together a relatively simple design.

I loved seeing all the super scrappy light/dark designs, but my Type A self just couldn’t go with a totally random look (I’m trying, really!). So, I chose a bunch of light prints and solid scraps and an overall off-white solid. I had been hoarding saving a pretty vintage sheet I picked up at a church sale a couple of years ago, and it turned out to be the perfect backing. I debated on how to quilt this thing for quite a while before finally settling on basic diagonals across all of the squares in a light pink thread.

The finished quilt was a great way to practice matching seams, and was made almost completely from stuff on hand. I did buy Warm & White batting and some light pink Kona cotton for the binding from JoAnn’s, both with 50% off coupons of course! The final quilt is super soft and cuddly, and I love the cheery colors. I think it will be our preferred couch quilt for quite a while, girly colors and all!

P.S. Sorry for the craptastic pictures. We've had a few rainy days lately, which was not very cooperative for quilt festival pics!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

This is Halloween (the Quilty Version)

Halloween is a big deal around here. My husband used to be the manager of a party store, so we have a TON of decorations. Our house is “that” house when it’s time for trick-or-treating, and we get people from several neighborhoods away. So, when I started getting really into quilting last year, I knew I had to make a Halloween quilt for the couch.

I had seen a ton of lovely zigzag quilts online, but they were mostly in pastel or bright colors. I thought, why not orange and black? I found the wonderful no-triangle tutorial at crazy mom quilts, which makes a small lap size, perfect to hang on the back of the couch.

I used Kona black and a bunch of Halloween prints from Joann’s (40% off sale of course). One of them was even this cute Hello Kitty print!

I had just taken a beginner free motion quilting class at the LQS, and wanted to try that out. To make things a little easier, I stabilized the quilt first by quilting the printed zigzags ¼ inch inside the seams on both sides. Then I got brave and free-motioned watery lines in the black zigzags. Not too shabby for a first try! And it makes a fun (and slightly seizure-inducing) pattern on the back.

For the binding, I pretty much cheated and folded over the back. But I liked the polka dots so don’t report me to the quilt police!! All in all I’m pretty happy with this one, and my husband and son love it too. Success!

With the leftover prints, I was able to make a table runner and a Halloween-themed Scottie Dog (with a few other scraps thrown in).

So this year our living room is ready for Halloween! Still, it couldn’t hurt to start a few more fall-themed projects…

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Purple Posh Quilt

I made this quilt as a comfort quilt for a teenage girl who was going through a tough time (my brother’s on-again, off-again girlfriend – oh hormones!). She said she liked purple, green, blue, and white. Well…ok. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make that work. All I knew was that I wanted to make it modern. I had the Posh quilt pattern saved for a while, and it seemed like the way to go. So then it was off for fabric. I lucked out and found the perfect fabric line, at Hancock Fabrics of all places! So I combined it with a few other fun prints and a few solids, and chose a medium purple Kona solid for the main background.

I picked a bright lime green for the back, but ended up using all of the remaining scraps for the back as well, and now I think I like the back almost as much as the front. I stippled all over with thread that matched the purple solid, and bound it with dark blue to frame it. I love how it turned out, and it was certainly hard to give it away. It was especially hard as I didn’t get to give it myself so I didn’t get to see a reaction. My husband loved it too, and wanted to keep it, so I might have to make another one for us!

As a side note, I completely underestimated the difficulty in getting decent quilt pictures. I work full-time so getting a nice sunny outdoor picture meant that I was limited to weekends. Then it seems coordinating a dog, toddler, and husband is quite the feat! I had countless running baby and dog butt pics before I finally got smart and locked them inside and used the neighbor’s fence as a helper instead. Much more cooperative.

Note the fluffy tail on the left and my son's awesome black socks on the right. I'm not sure this counts as nice staging :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Antique Store Adventures

I’m sure my family and friends think that its nuts that a 28-year-old likes to go wander around antique shops and thrift shops.

Lately I have been sucked into the antique sewing machine phenomenon, but as antiquing isn’t very popular around here, I had pretty low expectations. Also, I have no room for one of those pretty cabinets, so I had all but given up on the idea.

I randomly decided about a month ago to go wander into our local antique mall. “Mall” is pretty generous actually – it used to house Phar-Mor (remember those?). But I was presently surprised, it was really fun! I went on the search for sewing items, and found a couple of pricey machines in pretty bad shape and lots of old quilts. Then, in a random booth full of books, there was a pretty small black Singer sitting in a small leather/basket weave base. But it was $100 and being new to the vintage machine world, I passed. Then yesterday on a whim I went back to the same store. Along with the usual host of randomness, my little black machine was still there – and marked down to $78. Still too pricey, considering I was afraid of electrocuting myself if I tried to plug it in. So, more wandering commenced. On my 4th or 5th round of the store, I noticed someone had just hung up a 25% off sign in its booth. It was meant to be! Here she is after nothing more than a quick wipe-down to get rid of that “attic-fresh” dust and grime. Please ignore the messy kitchen table, courtesy of my 2-year-old.

She’s (pretty machines have to be girls, right?) a Singer 99, electronic, made in 1956 (3 years before my Mom haha). The metal has no rust whatsoever, and all the parts look fine, though she still needs some elbow grease. I’m still scared to plug her in though, leaving that one to the husband! :)

Hello, Blog World!

I have admired sewing, craft, and especially quilting blogs for a few years now, and have used them to teach myself to sew. But, due to the fact that I don’t have a whole lot of free time and don’t always use designer fabrics, I never really wanted to start one. But, I recently went to the first meeting of the Triad Modern Quilt Guild. I was SOO excited to see a local chapter was starting here, and the meeting was not disappointing! We are a lovely eclectic group, with a variety of experience, ages, tastes, and lifestyles, so I think there is going be lots of inspiration and learning. After looking at the Triad MQG website, I saw that several members have blogs, so I decided it was long past time for me to make one.

A quick bio: I live in North Carolina with my husband, toddler son, 2 cats, and a dog. Our dog is a Papillon, and is a complete and utter spaz (as is my son…and husband…). My husband and I have been together 13 years – almost half my life!! – and we describe our life as “chaotic bliss”. We are a happy house but with juggling family, work, friends, and our interests, things are definitely crazy sometimes. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world but I do wish there were more hours in the day…or that I didn’t need to sleep, how much crafty time would that free up?! Creativity keeps me sane and my family is nice enough to be guinea pigs for my projects on a regular basis. I am so excited to join the blog world!