Wednesday, May 30, 2012

WiP Wednesday: Check times FIVE!

That's right folks, five finishes this week!  Okay two of them were only sampler blocks but still, they count!  Plus, I'm lumping four hot pads into one finish so that totally makes up the difference.  It's WiP Wednesday again at Freshly Pieced and, as usual, I'm linking up to the blogger frenzy fun!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

First off the not pictured hot pads.  I can't believe I sent them off to my friend without snapping at least one picture!  I made four of them following this pattern that I wrote up myself after inspecting one my friend had.

UPDATE:  My friend emailed me a picture of the hot pads.  So here they are for your viewing enjoyment.


Now for the other four finishes...

I finished my little girls Hexagon Park quilt.  It's hard to tell who loves it more!  For the whole post on the finish and more pictures follow this link.  It went quite well and I would recommend this pattern to anyone!

Finish number three was the crochet Christening dress.  I mailed it out yesterday (5/29) and I can't wait until my friend gets it in the mail!!  I went with the shorter variation as my friend asked for.  I also added a flower at the waist line and made up another for her hair.  I love it!  For the whole story and more pictures see the finish post.

Now that I've finished some of my more pressing projects I've gone back to working on the Skill Builder Sampler.  I love the variation that Leila from Sewn comes up with!  This is Block #32 - Hexagon Flower.  It's so pretty!  I've been scared of little hexagons but this was so fun and easy!  I worked on it while my hubby and I watched TV after sending the kids to bed and it was relaxing.  I hope to make a whole hexagon garden quilt one day, it's now firmly on my list.

Block #31 - Cactus Flower -- This one was a bit frustrating and totally time consuming for me.  I didn't mess it up at all, which was a miracle, but it took a lot more thinking and working than I'm used too.  By the end I was wondering if it was really worth all that work but I love it!  I don't know if I'd make it again but I'm happy I made it the first time.  It's now, near the end of the sampler that I'm feeling my skills being stretched which makes me feel great about my skill set before starting!

Since I have so many things checking off my list I'm working on adding a lot more.  Here's my ever-growing list of planning stages...
- A Walk in the Woods quilt - have the fabric and know the pattern now just have to start cutting!
- Ruby quilt - have the fabric and know the pattern.  I miscarried the baby it was planned for and now I can't decide if I should make it and hope for another girl baby or just use the fabric for something else.
- Nana Papillon quilt - I know which fabric and pattern I'm going to use but that's as far as I've gone.
- Oldest boy quilt - seriously no idea but he needs a new one especially now that I've made/am making his sisters one.
- Youngest boy quilt - ditto to the last statement
- SIL quilt - I know the pattern and more or less what I fabric I want and I'm just waiting on funding.
- Grandma quilt - I'm still actively hunting for  a pattern for my very traditional but spunky Mother-in-law.

Waiting to be quilted...
- Ancient quilt blocks - I got them from my hubby's mother and put them together with a boarder to make a twin quilt.  They were made by his grandma or great grandma, I'm going to have to nail that one down.
- Quilt #2 - The second quilt I ever made was king size and is still waiting to be quilted.
- Etchings quilt - It's all ready, including the binding, and I was going to have Leila do it but I want to learn myself and it seems like a no pressure thing to practice on once I start to get the hang of it.

On Going projects...
- Skill Builder Sampler
- Scrapbooking - I've got everyone to January 2010 and the family one to June of 2010.
- Never Ending Afghan - after the blessing dress I'm crocheted out so this may have to wait some more.

WOW!  That makes me feel so busy/accomplished!  Here's to another week of productivity!

Crochet Christening Gown Finish!

 After 15 hours and 30 minutes of working over 14 days I finished the crochet Christening gown!  I only know how long it took because my friend asked me to keep track of my hours.  I have never really done that before so it was fun to see how much time I actually spent on it.  There were other things I did too but I spent the most time on this.

For more of the start of the story check out my other posts on this project here and here.  Now on to my favorite bit... the pictures!

We have a big baby doll that fits into newborn size things so when I finished the dress I tried it on her to make sure it fit more or less.  My friends baby is going to be bigger than a newborn but since it was a little roomy I think it should fit fine.  When my youngest saw the baby looking so fancy he ran (okay it's more of a shimmy waddle) over and picked the doll up and gave her love.  It was so cute!  He kept patting it's back and kissing her head.  He was sad when I had to take the dress off and big baby just wasn't as good without it.

Here's the finished front.  I modified the pattern a little bit.  They had a variation for a shorter version so I used that.  Then my friend wanted me to add a flower at the waist and make another for her hair so I did that.  I think the flower is a nice touch.  I did the same basic flower from the bottom of the skirt with the stitches all going in a chain four loop.  Then I added the fancy edging from the bottom of the dress to the outside of the flowers.  I put a button in the middle to add a bit of texture to it and voila!

Here's the back of the dress.  It has two buttons to close it up.

Here's the bottom detail.  LOVE!  It may be bragging but I keep looking at it and being so impressed that I made something so fancy!  While I've crocheted many things I've never tried anything so fancy and I love it!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hexagon Park Finish!!

 I'm so so excited - I finished my little Amelia's Cape Ann Hexagon Park quilt!  She's excited too see...

When I saw this pattern at Moda Bake Shop by Lynne from Lily Quilts I knew I had to have it.   Since my little girl switched over to a big girl bed two years ago next month she hasn't had a twin blanket all her own.  She's used some I had from college and some we bought before but there weren't any that were hers to start with.  I felt bad because she kept opting to sleep with her baby blankets and now her feet tend to poke out the bottoms more often than not.  I fell in love with Cape Ann by Oliver + S for Moda and then the Hexagon pattern and a quilt idea was born. 

It took me a while longer after I bought the fabric to get around to making it but with some pleading and nagging from my three year-old I got it started.  You can read about the journey through these five posts.. 1. here -  2. here - 3. here - 4. here and 5. here (that seems like a lot of posts/reading but there are other things in them too and the Hexagon part is pretty short).

Now onto the fun photo session pictures...

My good friend Leila from Sewn by Leila did the quilting again.  Seriously, LOVE!  I'm always at a loss of what to do so I left it up to her creative mind and she did these super cute mum flowers in each hexagon.  Aren't they fancy!  I'm nervous because she's expecting and I'm going to have to learn how to quilt myself because I can't afford to have someone else do the quilting for me with the nine quilts I have either completed, have the fabric for, or in the planning stages for this year.

Here's more fancy Leila quilting - She did more mums in the boarder squares and some cute swirls on the white boarder.  Again, LOVE!

My kids LOVE to climb trees.  If they are outside at least one of them can be found in one of our trees.  I decided to use this to my advantage while taking my quilt pictures.  I usually take them inside and the lighting and angles are bad but this way was so much more fun!  Sure they didn't manage to hold it out completely strait but I blame the branches and we'll just have to practice more.  The two oldest are high up holding the quilt and Amelia (whose quilt this now is) is by the middle.  I have one more little munchkin but at two he's not great alone in a tree and he was napping anyway.

We had to get a picture of the cute clothes fabric on the back too.  LOVE!  It's little Amelia's favorite print in the line and we just had to back her quilt with it.

Here's the finished product with no distracting tree or adorable children.  It's 70" by 80" ish and fits well on her twin bed with room for a pillow on top.  It's a little shorter than I like to make my twin quilts but at three she's quite a bit shorter than my six feet.  I think by the time she outgrows it she'll probably want/need a new quilt anyway.

It didn't last long by itself in the grass.  She is so so excited to finally have it done and is happily sleeping under it as I type this.
Thanks Lynne for the fabulous tutorial and pattern.  We love it!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pinterest Challenge

Pinterest Challenge

While hopping around my favorite blogs I was led to a post by Bryanne and Michelle from Michelle Patterns where they are having a Pinterest challenge.  Basically Bryanne is a Pinterest junky (aren't we all these days) but realized she never makes anything she pins (again, I feel you there) so she decided to have a challenge with a fabric giveaway (!!!) for people who created something they pinned and then posted about it.  It has to be fabric related but it can be something you made before the challenge.  I was torn.

I have a quilt going to be quilted tomorrow but I don't know if I'll have time to finish it before the challenge was up so... I happen to be leaning on something fabric I found on Pinterest and Voila!  A challenge post was born...

Meet my Cartwheel quilt.  LOVE!  Here's the pin link which leads to the tutorial at Moda Bake Shop by Amanda Jean from Crazy Mom Quilts.  Man that's a lot of linking ;)  When I saw the original quilt I knew I had to have it.  I was looking for a new snuggle quilt for the couch.  Ours was getting a little tired after eight years of continuous use.  I'd also been crushing on 30's Playtime by Chloe's Closet for Moda.  I blended the two together and perfection!

For more pictures and the original post follow this link.

WiP Wednesday: A Little Bit of Everything

Hurray for WiP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!  I was getting my "craftopus" on this week and I worked on a little bit of everything.  I got two quilts ready to be quilted, I used my new iron received on Mother's Day, I did eight scrapbook layouts (16 pages 12" x 12"), and I did a few more inches on the crochet Christening gown.  I feel a little schizo working on all these things, usually I just stick to one hobby at a time but this was fun.

I prepared two quilts for quilting this week.  I should have had all the fabric be right side out for the picture but I didn't think about it until now.  Oh well, that make it that much more of a surprise, right? One was my Ready Set Snow quilt that followed the Etchings pattern and the other is my Cape Ann quilt that followed the Hexagon Park pattern.  I may save the Christmas one for when I learn to quilt myself I haven't decided yet.  My friend Leila is coming over tomorrow to get them and go quilt so we'll see what we decide.  I loved making the roll for the binding.  Before I made the binding and kind of left it in a glob.  The roll is so pretty and clean!

Here's my new iron (blue) next to my old one.  I begged for a new iron for Mother's day and my hubby happily obliged.  Sadly the one he got was close but not what I wanted, I felt bad and didn't want to say anything but he sensed a problem and said his feelings wouldn't be hurt if I traded.  We exchanged it for this one which I have used and now LOVE!  It's not a crazy expensive one but I think that makes it even better!  I got a Hamilton Beach Durathon from Wal-Mart for around $25.  It heats up crazy fast, has a vast water tank, the steam can be shut off and controlled, and it glides like a dream!  These are all features which my old one did not posses.  My old would did have an automatic shut-off unfortunately it would shut off before I could even get my hand of the button that turned it on.  I had to try a good ten times before it would stay on.  I'm so happy!

I caught the scrapbook bug at my monthly craft night and I whipped up these eight layouts.  I LOVE to scrapbook.  The top four are matching one for my daughter's scrapbook and one for mine of pictures we took when she turned three.  The bottom four layouts are from 2010.  I feel a bit behind scrapbooking from two years ago but I've been reassured that I'm doing better than most to even attempt it.

The Christening gown is getting longer and more beautiful!  I'm just loving the way it's turning out!!  I was nervous that it was too big but we've got a big doll that can fit in newborn size clothes and when I tried the dress on her it had a little room to spare but pretty much fit.  My friend wants to use this dress when her baby is 1-2 months so this should be perfect!

Here's a close-up of the skirt detail.  LOVE!

Remember to hop on over to Freshly Pieced to check out other WiP Wednesday posts, click the link at the top or the icon at the bottom and thanks for stopping by!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Friday, May 18, 2012

Spring 2012 Bloggers’ Quilt Festival

 Amy over at Amy's Creative Side is doing a Bloggers' Quilt Festival.  Basically quilt bloggers from all over get together and link up to her post to show off their work and get inspiration from other quilters.  There are prizes and it looks like a lot of fun!  I've never participated before but I'm really excited to participate this time.

Please excuse the mess that is the floor around the quilt and just try to see the quilt.  It's hard with four small people to get the house clean enough to be picture worthy.
 I had a really hard time picking which quilt to feature.  There are so many that I love!  In the end I narrowed it down to three (see the other two here and here) but I landed on this Double Wedding Ring quilt.  This was the most intricate quilt I have made but I don't know if it was the hardest.  There were A LOT of little tiny pieces.  In the end we counted over 1,400 pieces.  Sadly I had to cut some of them twice as the pattern in the book was wrong - more about that in the picture part.

 As usual for me this quilt was a gift.  My hubby's little brother was getting married and I decided to make them a quilt.  Silly me let my husband pick the pattern and he has no idea how hard some of these things are.  As punishment I made him help me cut out a lot of the pieces after I traced them.  I was sad to see it go but the gasp I got as I revealed it to the family was worth it.  They've now been married for 18 months and use the quilt to snuggle up and watch movies on the couch.

I learned to not always trust patterns, which is really frustrating.  Also I learned that making an odd shape pattern piece is difficult but I've got the skills.  Finally, I learned that I can do hard things!

Here's the fun picture part with a little more detail...

Here a picture of the work in progress.  It was so hard to keep my four small children out of all of these pieces as I tried to sew them all together.

It seemed to take forever to get to this point.  All the pieces are ready to start going together and making it bigger.  I just love the colors and that each fabric had some sort of plant theme going on.  They both went to school for something plant related (soil science and landscaping).

I started to sew the football shapes together and they were a disaster.  I unpicked and I cried and stressed and then I figured out the pattern was just wrong and it wasn't my skills that caused the problem.  So with a lot of fancy math (my other love) I figured out the problem and made the new football shape.  I had to trace and cut out 49 more which was a pain.

I finally got them all put together and ready to assemble into the big quilt.  The curves were easier than I anticipated and it went pretty smoothly.

I like to machine bind some of my quilts but when the quilt calls for it I take the time to hand-sew them.  This one sure did with scallop edges and the fanciness of it all.

Here's the backing I chose.  I love it!  The blue isn't the same as the one on the front, it's kind of teal but I love it just the same.

Here's a close-up of the sewn rings.  I love the patchwork where the all come together.  I love the colors.  I just plain LOVE IT!

This is the one and only time this quilt ever touched my bed.  It's queen size and I think it works perfectly.  After my hubby saw this he said his brother didn't deserve it and I should make him another one (mostly joking).  By then I only had a week until the wedding and that just wasn't an option.  Eventually I may make one for myself but in the mean time I have this picture to look back on.

Thanks for reading this crazy-long post about my adventures in quilting.  Remember to hop on over to Amy's Creative Side and check out other quilts on the Bloggers' Quilt Festival.

Amy's Creative Side

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

WiP Wednesday: Crochet Crazy

It's WiP Wednesday again, my favorite day of the week because I get to post about all my craftiness and hop on over to Freshly Pieced to see what other crafty people have been up too.  Here's the fun from this week...

Since I've been feeling so nasty the only thing I've been up to was crocheting.  By Friday of last week I was starting to feel slightly better and I was starting to get bored with sitting around reading books and watching movies all the time, hard life, I know.  I found that crocheting used more of my brain, was productive, and gave me something to show for my hours sitting on my bum.  In the end I made one hat, eight flowers, added about 6 inches to the never-ending afghan, and have the beginnings of what will become a christening dress. 

My Step-dad saw the aviator hats I made my boys (see this post) and really wanted one.  The pattern didn't go past age four so I had to modify it to fit his adult male head.  I relied heavily upon my hubby's head and made him model it for me repeatedly to make sure it wasn't getting to big.

Here's the side view.  I seriously love this hat but I don't know how I feel about it when enlarged this much.  It's cute but could easily lean comical.  For an idea of scale the orange lines are inch marks.

Here's the front view.  I hope it fits!  I'll have him put in on and hopefully get pictures up soon.

For Mother's day I made my Mom some flowers for her festive tree.  She keeps a tree up year-round, sort of like a Christmas tree, and the decorations change with the months.  I thought some cute crochet flowers would be perfect for May.  A while ago a found a link to this post with a collection of flowers and I gave four of them a go.  I'm also in the planning stages of making her a quilt for her guest bedroom.  I would be in the sewing stages but currently have so much on my list I have to hurry and knock off first.

Here's the Christening dress I've been working on (pattern here).  Sadly, it's not for a baby of mine, although I'm considering it strongly if I have another girl.  A friend of mine pinned a crocheted dress and asked me if it looks difficult.  The one she liked wasn't connected to a pattern so I couldn't be sure.  I hopped around on (my favorite crochet pattern site) and found three different Christening gowns and told her that these would be already for someone with intermediate skill.  I told her the stitches she'd need to be able to do and various techniques required.  Of course, and I certainly saw it coming, this led to her requesting my services as the creator of this beautiful dress.  I was both flattered and nervous.  I know I have the skill set but it seems like such an important event I don't want to do less than a perfect job.  It's coming along beautifully and pretty quickly too.  This is a day and a half worth of work.

Here's a close-up of the flower detail that will be the skirt portion.  I'm loving this!  It's so fun, engaging, and just challenging enough to make it exciting.

Hop on over to Freshly Pieced to check out other WiP Wednesday posts like mine.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

WiP Wednesday: Hospital Getaway!

 I had plans for getting so much done and being all caught up with the Skill Builder Sampler.  I should have known better.  Sunday morning I woke up with excruciating pain, vomits, and other unmentionable symptoms so I went off to the urgent care center.  After many tests and many more "I just don't know" statements I was transferred to the hospital when I underwent many more tests.  22 vials of blood, 10 x-rays, one cat-scan, and three days later they decided I "probably" had a bowel infection and sent me home.  I can't take Tylenol for the ever-present pain because my liver levels were elevated (something I need to get further analyzed next week).  I can't take ibuprofen because it upsets the stomach and mine is already seriously unsettled.  I can't take (gasp!) an anti-diarrhea medicine because that will just make it last longer.  Long story short I'm in a lot of pain and have to stay near a potty.   TMI, I know but hey, it's my blog, right?  However, I have done a bit of hand sewing and I finished the applique blocks for the sampler.

This is the beginnings of block #20.  It is an appliqued circles block and she had us try out four different methods for attaching/making the circles.  Prior to this block I had only ever attempted raw-edge applique so this was a fun challenge.  I had to buy freezer paper for one method.  That proved to be an adventure.  We were at Wal-mart where they don't sell freezer paper and saw wax paper.  My hubby was convinced it was the same thing and we bought that.  FYI, wax paper is NOT the same thing!  After cutting out the circles in wax paper and finding that they totally didn't work for my purpose I used them as place markers until I got the real freezer paper.  Later I went by myself and after traveling to three different stores with four kids in tow I found it and did a super-happy dance in the aisle.

Block #20 - Circles - Here's my finished block.  I love how it turned out!  Each size of circle was done with a different method.  The largest (greens and dark gray) were needle turn.  The medium (blues and dark purples) were cheater needle turn.  The smallish (reds and orange) were freezer paper while the smallest (light gray, purple, and yellow) were gathered circles around cardboard.  I can seriously see advantages to each method but my favorite for circles was the gathered method.  It was so easy to get it just perfect!  Leila has links to different tutorials for these methods on her post.  Follow the link for the block to find them.

Block #21 - Choose your own adventure applique - I used the needle-turn method and made a fancy Eiffel Tower.  I LOVE IT!  Well, I love anything to do with Paris and the Eiffel Tower.  I've been to France twice - once just out of High School and once for my Honeymoon.  I loved every minute.  However, I did not love every minute of making this block.  First I didn't cut the fabric scrap big enough, then my thread had several large knots in it and finally my illness took over and I kept having to put it down at the really intricate parts.  I could have cut out the center but I'm just not up to it and knowing me right now I'd probably cut through the white fabric too and ruin the whole thing only to start again.  Oh well, I love it like this anyway (so I keep telling myself) it's like a shadow effect (so my hubby keeps telling me) and it's good enough (we both agree).
 - While at the hospital I had my crochet afghan so I did a few more rows on that, not as many as I wanted but oh well.
- I landed on several patterns and fabric lines for upcoming projects and I'm nearer to being able to start those.

Follow the link for more WiP Wednesday fun at Freshly Pieced.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

WiP Wednesday: Getting Closer

I'm getting closer and closer to being caught up in the Skill Builder Sampler!  I did five blocks this week and I only have six more to be caught up with the 30 already made.  I can do it!

I tried paper piecing for the first time and while it has always intimidated me I tackled it anyway.  It was so much easier than I expected and paper piecing is now my new love!  The next batch in the line-up are appliqued.  I made the first in a series of three and I'm excited to finish the other two.

The Never-ending afghan progressed to the halfway point so I'm halfway through eternity.  It's getting so big!

Otherwise I'm busy planning and plotting for my next few quilts and buttering up my hubby so he lets me buy the many many yards I'll be needing for each one.  Wish me luck!

Here's the photographic bit with a little more detail...

Block #15 - Diamond Dash - This is the first in the paper piecing series.  I was pleasantly surprised at how easy and fast it was!  I did feel sorry for the trees with all the paper I had to use but I got over it quickly when I saw the finished product.

Block #16 - Minnesota - I was a little nervous with this one.  True, I had a paper pieced block under my belt but this one looked intimidating.  It turned out really well and put me solidly in love with paper piecing.  Who knew I could make blocks this fancy?!

Block #17 - Starry Night - There is no way I would have ever attempted this block without the sampler because it looked too hard but once again paper piecing saved the day!  I love how it turned out and even with all the pain of removing the paper backing I think a full quilt out of this one would be beautiful!

Block #18 - Circle of Geese - LOVE!  Seriously just look at it!  Need I say more?

Block #19 - Orange windows - Okay, mine are clearly purple but that's what the block is called.  I attempted this block the first time around with the sampler and did it multicolored.  I love it with only one color!

The never-ending afghan got seven more rows this week.  That brings the current size up to 64" wide by 37" long.  I'm slightly over halfway finished and can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  If I stop putting it off I could reasonably finish it in two weeks doing three rows a day.  However, I'll probably complete it in something more like a month.

I finished five sampler blocks, seven afghan rows, and lots of schmoozing my hubby.  A productive week I'd say.

Check out other people's productive weeks at Freshly Pieced where Lee does WiP Wednesday linkups.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced