Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Quilt Top In A Day

Yes, I made a quilt top in one day. This is a record for me. But it is an easy one. I have had a charm pack and coordinating fabric in my drawer for this quilt for quite some time now. I am currently in between projects and have been working on my handbags. Last night I decided to pull the bag of fabric out and look at it.

Well, while the kids played in the yard for about an hour this afternoon, I blew through the assembly of the first 3 rows. Tonight, I finished the final 4 rows and attached the border. Tomorrow I can baste and begin quilting it. At this rate, I will have a completed quilt by the weekend! Sweet! Stay tuned for the listing in my shop!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hey! Can You Make Something For Me?

As I sharpen my skills at quilting and sewing, I have noticed my stitches are straighter, my designs and color coordinating are more pleasing to the eye and my end products looking a bit more professional. Which you would expect, right? Practice really does make perfect.

My handbags get a lot of notice amongst my friends and family. Lately, I get a lot of "hey, can you make something for me?" Of course, I always jump at an opportunity like that. I LOVE making things for people because I love the joy it brings them and honestly, it puts my stuff out there for other people to see.

A few months ago, I was practicing constructing a dresden plate. A friend of mine was pinning them all over her Pinterest board and I loved them. A dresden plate is a type of piecing with 2 or more fabrics, that are shaped like petals of a flower. Some have rounded edges and some are pointed. I found a pattern online and some scrap fabric and went to it. I would say it turned out ok. I could see where I would need a bit of tweaking if I were making them for a quilt (which I intend to do).

My daughter (she is 5), who is very intrigued by my sewing, walked into my crafting studio one day and spotted the dresden flower. She fell in love with it. "Mommy, please can I have this?!" I said sure. It was just a practice one and I wasn't going to do anything with it. I asked her what she wanted to do with it and after a moment, she asked, "can you please sew me a bag and I want this right on the front!?" Absolutely, I said.

So a week later, I went to the fabric store and picked out a cute butterfly fabric that would go well with the flower I made.

My practice dresden plate and the pieces cut and ready to be assembled.
After finally finishing a handful of custom projects, I have recently had some downtime to work on some things of my own. At the top of my list was my daughter's bag. And with my new found embroidery skills, I decided to add a personal touch to the center of the dresden flower.

This is my own kid tote design, complete with an outside pocket and fully lined interior. It is the perfect size for a child to carry some coloring books and crayons and/or markers. I make some of them with matching marker roll ups which I sell in my shop. The design and construction of the kid tote allows for use of up to 4 different fabrics to create something really unique!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Baby Girl Name Quilt

About 2 months ago, we found out that our realtors wife was expecting. Yeah! A baby...then my mind goes wild with baby quilt ideas. I absolutely love making baby quilts. They make such a special and unique gift for the baby and the parents. And there are way too many children's fabrics out there that are beyond adorable!

We got in touch, so I could get some ideas about the nursery decor and boy, girl or "we didn't find out". After some email exchanges, she basically left it up to me to come up with something. They definitely knew it was a girl and they had a name picked out already.

It is almost a little overwhelming when I get to pick fabric for someone. I am always in search of something "just right" and with about a gazillion choices out there, sometimes it's hard.

Knowing the baby is a girl, there were butterflies in the nursery decor and her name was going to be Olivia, I think I came up with something pretty wonderful. As I beamed with pride when the final product came out of the dryer, I couldn't help but blush a little when she called with glowing praise to tell me how amazing the quilt was. Making someone that happy is why I love sewing quilts for people!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Block Two Complete

I finally completed block two for the stitch along. I am really getting into this hand embroidery thing and my brain is filled with ideas of how I can incorporate this into my future quilts. As with most of my sewing, I find it very therapeutic and relaxing.

Now, onto block 3.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Forever In My Heart

That is what I named the huge custom quilt project I just completed. The name is very fitting given the nature of the project.

It all started with someone I know through the mom's club. She reached out to me asking if I would do a custom baby clothes quilt for her. I had never done one, but I had seen them before and said sure no problem. Baby clothes quilts are typically done in a simple block pattern to showcase the clothing. She was not into this and had another idea. Thanks to Pinterest, she had a photo of something a little more unique. I studied the photo and said yes! Not a problem, I can totally do this.

It started with two bags of clothing. Approximately 40-50 different pieces, some of which had very special meaning. She chose the fabrics...Michael Miller's, Children At Play in a gorgeous turquoise for the borders and backing, then a complimentary soft pink for the center. Quilt size is a full, 86"x86". The largest size I have done. I had to move living room furniture aside to lay it out!

Out of the clothing, I hand drew and cut approximately 72 different size and shaped hearts and backed them with interfacing to stabilize the fabric. I then pieced the pink fabric and laid the hearts out to form one large heart. Each heart was then pinned into place and were machine appliqued to the pink fabric. I had no idea how long this process of the quilt would take. Each heart took about 10-15 minutes to attach. It was painstakingly slow and I took them on a little bit at a time. For the backing fabric, I made simple framed squares and then appliqued the child's name onto the squares for a personal touch. By piecing the back this way, it makes for a more interesting back and technically reversible.

When the hearts were finally attached, I added the borders and was ready to baste the quilt together. It took almost 2 hours just to pin it. Now I was ready to quilt it. Because a full size is much larger than I am used to, I had to bring my machine inside to my kitchen table so I had a lot of space to spread the excess of the quilt out. The process of quilting I used, is called free motion. It is a process where you drop the feed dogs in the machine and you move the fabric freely. I knew this quilt had to be quilted this way, so in preparation, I took a 2-session free motion class to learn how to do it properly. I was terrified to start! I think I dropped the needle in and stared at it for about 10 minutes with my heart pounding before I could hit the foot pedal and go.

The final result was far more beautiful than I imagined. I knew this quilt was going to be a great one, but I was pretty impressed with the results. I am not one to pat myself on the back, but I had to a little bit with this one!

Full Front View

Close Up

Pieced Back
Free Motion - Meandering, Loops and Hearts

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Block One Is Complete

I have finished my first embroidery on block one for the stitch along. I am very excited by the results. Embroidery is actually pretty easy and I am looking forward to bettering my skills at it. I have always been very jealous of my crocheting friends because they have a craft they can travel I do too!

I had given so much thought to getting a sewing machine that had embroidery capabilities, but now that I am learning this skill by hand, I think I want to keep it that way. Yes, it takes a long time to complete, but the results are so much more satisfying. There are a lot of quilters out there who swear by hand stitching their binding to the back. I have tried takes FOREVER! At least with embroidery, I have a really pretty design to show for the lengthy hand work.

So here is my first completed block!