Saturday, December 29, 2012

Pay It Forward Movement

Hello all!  It has been quite some time since I have actually written something.  Now that the holidays are over, I have to get busy making two baby quilts!  I am making one quilt for a good friend who is due on March 1st.  She decided to go old school and not find out what she is having.  This is fun and all, but it doesn't make quilt planning very easy.  Finding gender neutral fabric sounds easy enough, but it's not as easy as it seems.  Every fabric I picked up seemed to still lean to one gender or another.  After searching and searching, I finally decided on TWO sets of fabric.  I still don't know which one I will use.  One is really dull, and one is REALLY bright.  The other quilt I am making is for a baby that hasn't even been conceived (let me explain...).  I follow the blogs of three wonderful ladies that I had the chance to meet this November (Mama LaughlinHolly, and Aly).  They decided to get together and spread some Christmas cheer with a project called the "Pay It Forward Movement".  The purpose of the movement is to tell the stories of families in need, not just food or money, but also prayers and other kind deeds.  They each told a new story every day for a week or two of a different family that their readers could help.  One day Aly posted a story (you can read it here) about a woman named Kim who was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  She is the mother to two twenty-somethings.  Her daughter is pregnant with her first child and her son is engaged to be married and also planning on starting a family at some point.  She expressed to a good friend, that other than not getting to meet her grandchildren, one of her biggest regrets is that she could not make them baby blankets.  Her friend wrote in to Aly and asked if there were any quilters that would be willing to make a baby quilt for each one of Kim's children.  Since I have been getting attached to the quilts I make and don't want to give them away, I decided that the next quilt I make needs to be a gift for someone.  My theory is that it will be easier to let it go if I know that it belongs to someone else.  When I read this story, I knew that this would be the first quilt I would give away.  I contacted Aly who put me in contact with Jennifer (Kim's friend) and we decided that I would make the quilt for Kim's son and his fiance (another woman volunteered to make the quilt for Kim's daughter).  Jennifer is planning on surprising each of them with the quilts at the daughter's baby shower in February.  So obviously, this ALSO needs to be gender neutral.  As you can see, I follow quite a few sewing blogs (the list is on the right) and I check blogger often.  I follow a blog called Crafty Blossom, if you don't know about this blog, you are missing out.  She makes the most stylish, modern quilts.  I just love them!  She has a herringbone quilt that is just amazing.
from Crafty Blossom.  This is the inspiration.

The plan is to make Kim's son and fiance a herringbone quilt.  I have chosen to do the herringbone pattern in a cream and green.  The backing is a really cute fabric with bugs (cute ones, not gross ones) all over.  The binding will be done in an odd blackish brown (think earthy).  I think it will all look great when I get it together.  I have never done triangles before.  I have made a couple of practice pieces and they went pretty smooth.  I hope the actual quilt top comes together just as easy.  If you have any tips on working with half-square triangles, feel free to leave them in the comments!  I'll update again once I get the top together.

these are for the herringbone quilt

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Thank god for color catchers!

I think I might have been in a little bit of trouble of I didn't use them! Whew!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Drumroll please!!! ...

Ta Da! My plus quilt is finally finished! It ONLY took a few months! (sarcasm) The pictures aren't great but they are all I have.  I might try to take more after I wash it.  Anyway, I think I am in love with this quilt.  I love how each square is a little puffy and it just seems so cozy!  The straight line quilting was much easier than the chevron quilt that I did last time.  I also bought some machingers quilting gloves, and holy shit, what a difference!  They made quilting so much faster.  I highly recommend them (I know all of the pictures of the gloves look like hamburger helper hands but they don't look that way in person).  I also decided to hand stitch the binding because I loved the quilt so much that I didn't want to risk messing it up by machine binding.  My first quilt has quite a few mistakes from machine binding.  I had no idea that hand stitching would take so much longer, but it was worth it.  I can't say that I'd do it on every quilt though!  I think I am keeping this one.  Maybe the next quilt I make I will give to someone.  I get so attached to them!  I think if I start out knowing that I am giving it away, then it will be easier to let it go.
please ignore the loose strings on the back, I should've taken a lint roller to it first.  Oops.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Quilt Anxiety

Do you ever feel a little anxiety before you start quilting?  I always get the feeling of "what if I ruin it?".  I worked so hard on the top, I would hate for me to mess it up.  Anyway, I finally put together the quilt sandwich for my plus quilt last night.  I basted it with safety pins and then just stared at it, knowing that tomorrow it could be ruined by my lack of experience.  This is only my second quilt.
My work space (the dining room table) 

Today I started quilting it.  Not as easy as I expected.  You see, my very first quilt was a zig zag quilt.  That thing was a total bitch to quilt!  I quilted 1/4" away from the seams and I had to turn the entire quilt 180ยบ about every 5 inches!  UGH!  I didn't think I was ever going to get through it, but I did and I vowed to never quilt zig zags again.  This time I am quilting straight lines, so I thought "this is going to be a piece of cake!".  I don't think it's going to be.  Honestly, I don't think quilting anything other than potholders will ever be a "piece of cake".  So far, I am two lines in and I am already thinking "holy shit!  what have I gotten myself into!?!"

my two lines
Two lines down... 64 more to go!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Clothespin Bag

My wonderful boyfriend, Curtis, hung a clothesline for me the other day.  The poles have been there since I moved into the house but the back one was hidden by over grown shrubs and there were never any wires strung between the poles.  The other day he cleaned up the back yard, cut down all of the shrubs, and hung the wires.  I was stoked.  I've wanted a functional clothesline since I moved in.  I usually use one of those collapsable wooden racks but it's just not big enough since we hang probably 50% of our laundry.  I wanted to make a clothespin bag for my new clothesline, so I got on pinterest and searched for a cute pattern.  I found this tutorial.  I made the bag today and it turned out great!  I wish I could make more but I just don't have the need for more than one clothespin bag. =/

Plus Quilt

A few weeks ago I started my second quilt.  It's this plus quilt from In Color Order.  I used the Flea Market Fancy fat quarter pack that I got in the mail a few months ago along with a pack of coordinating solids that you can find at Pink Chalk Fabrics.

After getting all of my fabric squared up and cut into 4.5" squares, I laid them all out on the living room floor where they would stay for the next 2+ weeks.  Putting together the pattern was a little difficult towards the end.  I had divided the fabrics into 5 color groups and I drew out a pattern on graph paper using five different colored pencils.  It looked easy enough on paper, but once I started getting to the bottom, I was running out of squares that I needed to make full symbols.  I had to do some swapping at the end but it turned out ok.   I took me about two weeks to sew everything together.  Not because it actually took that long but because I took a break for about a week and a half.


Yesterday I had to take my car to the shop and my boyfriend was at work, so I was without transportation all day.  It gave me a reason to work on the quilt all day.  I already had all of the blocks sewn into rows, I just needed to sew all of the rows together.  It only took me a few hours.  This is what it looks like now...


I am now waiting on my fabric to come in the mail for the backing.  I am going to use Kona Mahogany (the dark brownish-red solid on the front) and I am going to bind it with  Flea Market Fancy medallion red.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Gershwin Clutch

I made this Gershwin Clutch from Charlie's Aunt on Etsy.  I loved this pattern!  The construction was super simple and the instructions were clear and easy!  I would definitely buy a pattern from this shop again.  The owner was also very pleasant.  She has some great and unique vintage style designs.

This bag is for a friend's birthday.  I asked her husband for her favorite color and he responded with "yellow, more vintage than bright".  The closest thing I could find was duck in a mustardy yellow (none of the pics do the color justice, they are either too dark or washed out).  The bag was so easy to make!  I was really surprised with how well everything matched up and how easily it came together.  The next part was the bow.  The construction of the bow was simple.  I even taught myself how to sew on buttons with my machine, which saved a lot of time!

this was my practice button on my machine

The hard part was slip stitching the bow to the front flap of the bag.  I am convinced that it would not be a pain in the ass with MOST fabrics, duck, on the other hand was a total BITCH!  My fingers were sore for two days from hand stitching that bow onto the bag!  It was worth it though.  I think the bag turned out great!  I hope she likes it.

Funny Story

I made this clutch from Michelle Patterns a while back.  I love it.  I carry it all of the time.  We went to Twin Peaks (it's like Hooters if you didn't know) *rolls eyes* with some co-workers the other night.  We were sitting at the bar and the bartender (pretty blonde girl that couldn't have been older that 21) said "I like your bag" and I said, "Thanks!  I made it!". Then she said "Did you sew the buttons on it?" and I said "yep!".  Then my boyfriend and I looked at each other confused.  I'm pretty sure that she thought I bought the bag and just sewed 3 buttons on it.  It was really strange.  I don't know why else she would be most impressed with the buttons.  Haha.  I just had to shake my head.


In case you didn't know, I am a crazed OKC Thunder fan.  When I say crazed, I mean that I have enough Thunder shirts to wear for 2 weeks straight without doing laundry.  I have a "jersey" shirt for each player in the starting lineup (minus Sefolosha) and plus Harden and Collison.  I have made a Thunder wreath for my door,  my dog has a Thunder tag with his info on it, we have season tickets, and I have watched every single game of this season (unfortunately I didn't get to attend every home game because we live 2 hours away).  I have even considered checking into what it would cost to get married on the court before a game! I love the OKC Thunder!

I made this bag out of a T-shirt yesterday. I think I turned out really well. I got a few compliments on it at the game last night. I love when people compliment you on something and you get to say, "THANKS! I made it!". ( I have a funny story about "Thanks, I made it" but I'll tell it in a separate post)

I was worried about working with a cut up tee but I interfaced it as soon as I finished cutting it and I didn't have any problems with it rolling up.  I also used a light sew-in interfacing just to make it a little sturdier and it has a solid cotton lining with an interior pocket too. I will be making another one today!

Here is a picture of my thunder wreath that I made (it took me TWO DAYS!)  I don't know if you've ever made a yarn wreath, but it SUCKS!  I will never make one again.  Those felt flowers took forever too because every petal had to be hand sewn. BLAH!  I hate hand stitching!  It looks cute though!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Live and learn

I'm pretty sure that a zig zag stitch is NOT supposed to look like this. Good thing it's on my muslin practice dress.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I'm planning a quilt for our queen size bed. I bought 3 layer cakes of half moon modern from After searching for patterns that are charm square friendly, I finally decided on a pinwheel design. I'm so excited to get to work on this! Here is the pattern I drew out

UPDATE: After some block test runs, I realized that I like bigger blocks better.  These were just going to be too tiny, making the quilt too busy.  I am now waiting for my 1/4" presser foot that I ordered from amazon to get here because I also learned on my trial blocks that perfect 1/4" seams are essential with this pattern.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Look What Came in the Mail Today!!!!

Ever since I found a new love for fabric, I have been eyeing the "Flea Market Fancy" collection everyday online.  I made a deal (I sorta plan on sticking to) with Curtis that I would only buy fabric if I have a plan for it.  He thinks that the idea of having a stash is ridiculous.  I think he's ridiculous for thinking that!  So I finally decided that I wanted to make a plus quilt from this tutorial that I found on In Color Order.  I knew exactly what fabric I wanted to use!  It arrived in the mail today.  I actually did a dance.
Flea Market Fancy by Denyse Schmidt

Something to keep me busy

I had some free time while waiting on the fabric to arrive for my next quilt, so I decided to make myself a cross-body bag.  I made my mom one for her birthday and I decided that I wanted one too!  I found the pattern here on Etsy.  Honestly, I was not too happy with this pattern.  I had to make a lot of adjustments and guess on the dimensions of pockets and zippers.  Also, the pleats marked on the pattern are in the wrong place so it was up to me to figure that out too.

Mom's bag
 I am happy with the finished product though.  Originally, I was not stoked about the fabric that my mom picked out for her bag, but I liked it better after it was finished.  I decided to make something a little more lively!  This project didn't come without problems though.  First off, I couldn't decide what kind of interfacing to use.  I made my mom's bag out of home decorator fabric (they call it "duck" at hobby lobby) and even though it was thickER it wasn't quite thick enough after it was done. Heavyweight fusible just doesn't seem that heavy to me, but the next (fusible) step up is that really stiff felt-like stuff.  I need something in between.  I stared at the interfacing rack at JoAnn's for a good 10 minutes and finally decided to get the stiff stuff.  I spent at least an hour cutting out all of the pieces (I hate that part).  After I got everything cut out, I tried to fold the stiff interfacing (which I think was actually called "stabilizer") into pleats.  I realized that there was no way in hell that stuff was ever going to lay flat enough to make a pleated bag.  UGH!  Luckily I decided to buy 2 yards of regular heavyweight fusible for the stash at some point so I just used that.  I decided that I was going to double interface the bag to make it sturdy so that it wouldn't collapse once there was stuff in it.  I had to cut out two more pieces for every pattern piece then I had to fuse two pieces to every piece (I hate applying interfacing more than anything!  HATE IT!  And don't try to cheat and put the iron straight on the interfacing to speed things up.  It will melt and ruin your fabric!)  Finally it was time to start sewing!

This time around I sewed the back of my pleats shut (thanks Aunt Lori for suggesting this!) because the pleats on my mom's bag spread out when there is stuff in it.  After I got the pleats basted, I put the front and the back together to see if they matched up... they didn't.

I had to redo the bottom pleats by letting them out a little bit to make the bottom wider.  After that was taken care of, it was smooth sailing until I got to the zipper.  I don't care what people say, zippers are a bitch, especially when the pattern doesn't give you dimensions for the zipper, pocket, etc..  I have around 15 different colors of zippers that I got from zipit not too long ago, but only had ONE that would even come close to matching this fabric.  I only had one shot to make it right.  I cut the zipper 6" and put fabric ends on it.  I cut the hole about 5.5" but by the time I got the little triangles at the end of the hole tucked in, it was 6".  This made it a little difficult to get both ends of the zipper tacked and sewn.

Luckily I got it done.  It may not be the prettiest job but it's on the inside of the bag.  No one will be able to look at the inside close enough to notice my mistake.  Finally I got to sew the thing together!  I got the whole thing put together, turned right side out, and immediately slip stitched the opening at the bottom of the lining.   Unfortunately my excitement got the best of me and I slip stitched it closed before I tried to put the lining inside the outer shell.  Once it did put the lining in, the top edge of the bag wasn't laying right at all.  I could not figure out what was wrong.  I knew that the edges matched when I sewed it together.  A little bit of panic started to set in, then it dawned on me that I didn't clip the rounded edges at the top. DUH!  I had to rip out the slip stitching I had just done, turn it inside out again, clip the edges, turn it right side out and slip stitch it AGAIN!  At least it turned out right the second time! PHEW!  Here are the final pictures...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

My First Quilt

Yesterday I finished my first quilt.  I found a great tutorial on pinterest.  I made the quilt top a few months ago with no problem.  I was so proud of it after I was finished, that I was scared to ruin it.  So it stayed folded up in my spare room (soon to be sewing room!) for a few months.  My fiancee Curtis kept badgering me to finish it.  Finally I decided to just suck it up and do it!  I read as many blog posts as I could about putting the sandwich together and basting.  My lovely friend Jen loaned me her quilting safety pins (the ones that are curved) and this awesome thing called a Kwik Klip (helps close safety pins). I am so glad I used those.  Originally I was going to baste it by sewing but I'm glad I didn't.  I don't think it could get any easier than pinning.  I decided to machine quilt it since the pattern is a little more modern than "usual" quilts.  I was afraid hand quilting would take away from the modern look (and it would take forever!).  Machine quilting this thing was a total bitch!  I had to turn the whole quilt every 5 inches.  I was so happy when it was finished though!  I was going to bind it with yellow, I even made 300" of yellow binding tape and then decided that I didn't want to use it.  There are too many variations of yellow in the quilt, using one for the whole binding just wasn't going to look right.  I just wanted the back to have some color too, oh well.  I decided to go with the gray and I'm glad I did.

The binding was easier than I thought.  There are a few mistakes but it's my first so I'm not going to beat myself up over them.  All in all I am really happy with how this turned out.  I may have a hard lesson coming up though, because I was so eager to start sewing, I did not prewash my fabric.  I have my fingers crossed that it does not completely distort in the washing machine.

Please excuse the wrinkly pictures!  Also, the quilt is gray and yellow, even though it looks blue.

UPDATE: I finally washed my quilt and everything came out fine! Woo hoo!