Monday, December 31, 2012

Ringing in 2013

Wishing you the very best in the coming year. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

More fun than a barrel of Monkeys

A cold snowy day was the perfect excuse to stay at home and play with a collection of Civil War repro fabrics that have been patiently waiting their turn. I have wanted to make a Monkey Wrench quilt for a long time, and yesterday was the day.
These are just the first nine blocks.  The block size is 5 inches, and  I'm going to need 20 in all, for a small wall hanging.

Four more are already in the works:
Of course, making such small blocks doesn't even begin to make a dent in the stash, but that's not really the point, right?

Such a fun day, flinging fabrics and creating small treasures. I love these charming little blocks.  I also loved the charming scene outside my window at the end of the day:

You can almost hear the choir of voices singing:

Silent Night, Holy Night
All is calm, all is bright....

Well, it was silent and calm, until an overachieving neighbor started up his snowplow at 11:00 at night.   (*sigh*)

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merry musings

Here's another view of Toby in his Christmas pajamas:

He surprised us all by not trying to wriggle his way out of them.  The green patch on his hind end says "Santa's Helper".

Santa must have had a little help in choosing a gift for me.  He gave me some gorgeous half yard cuts of citrus-ey gold batiks.

The pink banded fabrics on the right were from Santa, and the ones on the left were pulled from my stash.  I already have a plan for what I want to do with these.  I have a pattern called "Harvest" which will showcase them nicely, I think.

My other quilty gift this year was from my quilter friend, Rosemary who surprised me with this cute charmpack of Coquette from Moda and a pattern for a charming tote/purse.

The day after Christmas, I enjoyed having the chance to finish the hotpads that I gave to my daughter.

After a whirlwind of Christmas deadlines, I really have to clean up the sewing room before I can start anything new.  Here is a photo of what happens when you have lots of projects going on at once.

This is what I affectionately refer to as "craftermath".   

Craftermath is the  resulting and overwhelming mess that is left lying all about after a full day, week, or month of creative pursuits. Massive amounts of creative supplies jumbled and piled all together, all about ones workspace, making it impossible to continue crafting until cleaned and possibly preventing any inspiration whatsoever.

Now that I've defined it, I have to go and do something about it.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012

It was Christmas Eve and I had 21 people coming over for dinner  so of course I decided it was a good time to sew.

There was still cooking and wrapping and some decorating to do, plus arranging of tables and setting the places but I still decided I would sit down and sew.

I had fabric left over from the apron  I made for my daughter,  so I thought I would make her a couple of matching hotpads for Christmas.  I expected I could get them done in no time flat.  I had bought insulated thermal batting months ago that would be perfect for a hot pad.

I cut front and back fabrics, plus a layer of cotton batting and a layer of the thermal batting, stacked them up nice and neat and quilted with a diamond pattern.

This part really was quick and easy. 
The challenge was to add the binding. 
I knew that I would need bias binding to go around the curved corners so I checked the web for a tutorial on that and went about making my binding.
Creating the binding took longer than the cutting and quilting of the hotpad.

Surprisingly, machine sewing the binding around the curves wasn't as bad as I thought, although it did involve lots and lots of pins.

Being in a hurry, of course I screwed up the first time when I went to sew the beginning to the end of the binding.

Ripped it out and reattached the beginning and the end correctly this time.

Now I didn't have much time to get that binding handsewn around to the backside, so I decided to experiment with machine sewing.

I did a stitch-in-the-ditch from the front side, but I wasn't too crazy about how the back looked.  (Sorry, didn't have time to take a picture.  Didn't want to anyway.)

I decided that a zig zag stitch would be a great decorative way to cover the offending stitches.

I was pleased with the result, and had nothing left to do but sew the binding on the second hot pad.  Unfortunately, I also had about nothing left on my spool of thread.

No time to get new thread, so my daughter got these for Christmas, with a promise to finish the binding ASAP.

It was fun to see her open up the box with these inside, and she and I both got a good laugh about my unfinished binding.

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!  We had an adorable helper to assist with the unwrapping this year:

Yes, I am now one of "those people" who put clothing on their dogs.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Snowman table runner

Apparently, Santa's elves are still busy in someone else's sewing room, so I had to sit down and make a few last minute gift items myself.

I remembered that my husband's brother and sister-in-law have a snowman theme going on at their house this time of year and decided to make them a snowman tablerunner.  (This idea popped into my head about 6:00 am on Sunday morning.)

I had a striped  fabric in my stash that included snowmen, so I cut out a few strips, then re-arranged them and sewed them back together.  (That's what we quilters do best, right?)

For the borders, I added a finishing stripe of the navy  snowmen.

With time running short, I couldn't sew the binding by hand, so I decided to attempt a machine binding.  I turned the white binding to the back and used many, many pins.
So. Many. Pins.

Then I picked a decorative stitch that reminded me of icicles, and I sewed all around from the front side.

I'm not going to show you a closeup of the back side, but let's just say that it will do.  I used the same white fabric for the backing and binding so it disguised it blended pretty darn well.

Here is what I ended up with:

I found a cute snowman cookie dish that matched and the two are going out in the mail.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Math

Two fun, funky fabrics:

plus a pair of silvery "D" rings:

and a couple of sweet pockets:

add up to one cute reversible apron:

and one less gift on my Christmas shopping list.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A gaggle of flying geese

The next block in the BOM I am working on required 18 Flying Geese units.

In the past, I would have cut 36 yellow squares, drawn a diagonal line across the center of each one and then sewn them to 18  rectangles using a sew and flip method.

I have never been fond of drawing those lines, and thanks to a new ruler, I no longer have to.  If you read my last post, you have  already seen one use for the "Quick Trim and Circle" ruler.  Here is another great use for it.

I started with a 36 yellow squares:

I took the first stack of 4 and positioned the ruler over them so that the white lines on the ruler lined up with the top and right edges of the square:
(Notice that the dotted line on the ruler makes a perfect diagonal from corner to corner)

Cut off that little corner triangle:

After cutting, you have this triangular unit:

(In a different world, in a far off galaxy, I would save those perfectly cut right triangle pieces that I just cut off, and make a little pinwheel quilt, but this is not that world.) 

I made the same cut to 7 more stacks of 4 squares:

In no time at all, I had a nice stack of 36 triangular units for my Flying Geese:

So much faster than drawing all those lines!

Here is how to use these units to make a Flying Geese block.  Start with the yellow triangular unit and a rectangle:

Place the triangle unit, right sides together, on top of the rectangle, using the short straight edges to line them up:

Look closely.  The bottom left corners match up like this:

and the other side matches up like this:

Once you have the two pieces positioned, sew a quarter inch seam along the diagonal side of the triangle unit piece:

Flip open  and press:

At the ironing board, you can use the fact that the rectangle is still attached in the background to perfectly (or as close as you can get) line up the triangle unit. 

The back of the unit looks like this.
Trim the blue triangle area to a quarter inch seam allowance:
(I recommend you do this from the front side, holding the yellow triangle away from the blue rectangle, but it was easier to show from the back.)

Now to add the other side. This time position the triangular unit like this:

The bottom right corners match up like this:

and the opposite corner lines up like this:

Sew a quarter inch seam along the diagonal side of the triangle unit:

Then flip open, press and trim like before.  Your Flying Geese unit is now complete, and you never had to pick up a marking pencil!

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