Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Whole New World!

I'm very excited about my most recent quilt finish. It's been a long time in the making because I was waiting for a few key elements for quilting: 1. Inspiration, and 2. A ruler base for my long arm. ;)

In late June I had the very unique opportunity to spend the day with Angela Walters and a few other VERY exceptionally talented long armers in Denver. The airlines almost didn't let it happen, but Angela persevered, and made it to Denver, and we just really tried to suck as much information out of Angela's brain as conceivably possible in a 6 hour span of time. ;o)

 (Susan (front right) made each of us these little placemats, it wasn't part of our class)

One of the take-aways for me (of MANY) was how to use a ruler for quilting. I have a few quilt tops that are awaiting quilting inspiration, but I only really have one that was right for using the ruler base. (It's basically an acrylic add-on, similar to an acrylic extension table for your domestic sewing machine.)

(this isn't me practicing with a ruler, obviously, but it's the best picture of me and my BFF, Angela!) ;o)

So after that amazing "mountain top" experience, I seriously debated buying a ruler base for my long arm. It was $100, and I just wasn't sure it would be worth it, you know? I spend SO much money on stuff that I don't need or end up using (Hello, Accuquilt Go cutter!), but I decided to take the plunge on this one.

The Shape Shifters quilt that the {Faith Circle} of the Do. Good Stitches bee made in April was perfect for ruler-guided quilting. The problem? I needed to piece the top!! There were a few blocks that I had to re-make because they were trimmed wrong, but it really is an amazingly easy set of blocks to make. (You can find the tutorial HERE) Once I got the top pieced and the backing selected, it was time to get to work!

And WORK it was!! Man alive. Practicing on Susan's long arm for a few minutes was NOTHING like actually doing the quilting on my own quilt, on my own machine. The first block took for. eh. ver. Forever. Or at least four hours, which felt like forever! 

                                           

But then I figured out how to stream-line the process a bit, and eventually got to where each block was taking me about 30 minutes. All in all, though, I believe I spent about 20 hours quilting this quilt.

Totally worth it, yes, but goodness gracious! My arms ached, my legs ached, my back ached...Ruler-guided quilting is not for the weak, that's for sure!

                                                   

Now it's bound, and I'm going to put on the label, and take it to Restore Innocence so they can give it to a girl rescued from sex trafficking.

Here are a couple of pictures of the secondary design of the blocks, and the quilting in each.

  

And one more glamour shot for good measure. ;o)

                                                

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Rolling the Dice with Urban Zoologie and Remix

(actually, it's only one. It's a "die", but I didn't like the alternative title.) :o)

I recently had the opportunity to take this adorable panel of Urban Zoologie by Kelle Boyd of Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman, and make it into something fun for a baby gift.


When I first saw the panel, I immediately saw a giant stuffed die (dice...why are plurals so difficult?!)  I wasn't entirely sure how to make it, but I knew I could figure it out. After a brief consultation with Pinterest, I confirmed my suspicions, and got to work!  (I started with this tutorial by London Mummy, if you want to follow her great instructions!)

I don't think I had to, but I chose to back the panel with interfacing (SF101) to give the fabric a bit more stability. I added a ribbon handle to the side, and thought it would be fun to include a little bell. :o)


All of my kids love this die. It's just FUN! :o)



Since I couldn't make a baby gift without making burp cloths and a receiving blanket, I used some YUMMY Robert Kaufman flannel to round out the gift. If you've never used it, you need to. It feels soooo soft and fluffly and strong compared to other flannels I've used!  (Note: I always prewash flannel, and I used a 1/2" seam allowance)

I know a number of people like to use prefolded Gerber cloth diapers to make burp cloths, and I admit I've made my fair share of those, but I've recently started making my own entirely out of flannel. And I will. NEVER. Go. Back.

Never.

(Never)

I'm not sure I save that much money doing it this way, but I really do love how dreamy these burp cloths are.

I used white flannel for the base, but could easily have used any other color, and made these the same size as the Gerber diapers. And I know no one will be surprised to know that I used some of Ann Kelle's Remix rainbow chevron for the accent and the receiving blanket.


(this is just such a happy sight!)

These are just so soft! And the receiving blanket? Even softer. Not that I want another baby, because I DON'T, but I'd be willing to hold a baby swaddled in this. Mama ain't got no chance for the baby blues with her baby swaddled in this! :o)



All in all, this was a great challenge (not really a challenge, mind you!), and I had fun using Kelle's Urban Zoologie panel and Remix flannels. Love them BOTH!!  Thank you to both Kelle Boyd and Robert Kaufman for the fabric and the chance to make something new and different. :o)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

{WiP} Wednesday ~ 24/56

I haven't sewn much lately. My family and I just got back from an epic 12-day, 3000 mile road trip in an RV. Yes, it was as exhausting and crazy as you are thinking. It was also as good as you are thinking. :o)

And while it was (technically) possible to have a sewing machine in the RV, it wasn't really possible to sew while in motion, with 3 small children and their constant needs. And their constant motion. And their constant talking. 

Thankfully, I was able to work on my Schnitzel and Boo swap mini at my in-laws' house. I didn't do much, but I did attach the Dresden blades to the background for my partner. Then I hand-stitched them down on the drive home. 
                                 

I don't think it will be that big, though I do want it to be off-set. Here's a picture of just the Dresden plate.

Now my question to you is, how should I quilt it? What do you think?  What would you love if this was given to you?

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

{WiP} Wednesday ~ The May Edition

Do you feel like this time of year is just WAY out of control? I do. And I purposely let a lot of things slide just so that I can stay on top of the things that are mandatory!

We have 2 birthdays in May, the end of the school year for the girls, and the end of the school year for Dave (an instructor), there are always a couple of formal(ish) dinners we have to attend... it's just too much!  Here's one: We had a formal (called a "dining out" in the military) on the same night - at the same time! - as our daughter's art show at school. So, since it was her first gallery opening, we decided to dress accordingly... ;o)  
And we had one girlie girl turn 4, and had a very busy day, but it ended with a big ol' bucket of modern pop beads, and she was happy. :o)

 And the other turned 6, choosing to go to HuHot Mongolian Grill for her birthday.




We had a small combined party at Build-A-Bear for the girls and some friends, which was fun, and not at all crazy! :o)   Then we took the party upstairs to a new restaurant in the mall called PB and Jellies. The girls each got to make their own jar of peanut butter (with fun add-ins, of course!), and enjoy a PB&J kids meal (or grilled cheese, but WHY?)


Crazy as things are, I'm still trying to sew when I can. I decided to not try to sew something for the girls' teachers this year because it would just take too much time and too many brain cells!

I finished this graduation gift for Dave's cousin. T-shirt quilts aren't that hard to do! I know I was intimidated for a while, and then once I realized I was armed with all the right supplies, and could handle it, I did fine!  There are probably a ton of tutorials out there, but if anyone is interested in how I did it, let me know and I'll do a simple how-to. I also made a pillow out of a sweatshirt that was too large for the quilt, so that'll be fun to have on her college bed. :o)




And I have finally finished some AMH feather blocks for my Bee Happy bee, and I'm wishing I had foundation paper pieced them. There is just SOOO much fabric waste! (Which equals time waste, in my book!)

                                                    

As for my WiPs, there are many. :-/. 

I need to finish quilting my Colorado MQG challenge quilt and get it bound soon. 

                                                

I have to make my do.good stitches blocks for the Faith Circle for May.  And...I have a couple of fun baby things to make!! 

Oh, time. Not on my side. :o)

I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WiP Wednesday. :o) Hope you have a great week!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

It's Giveaway Time at Sew Mama Sew!

Hi there, and if this is your first visit, welcome!


My name is Melissa, and I live in Colorado with my husband and 3 young children. They are all very wonderful, and I am so very blessed to be able to stay home with them! I sew and craft when I can, which isn't as often as I would like, but I do my best. :o)

This week I'll be giving away a few of my favorite things: a Pentel Fabric Gel Roller (which is awesome for labeling your quilts), one of Cristy's glue tips for glue basting (I glue baste EVERYTHING!), a new bottle of Elmer's washable glue (don't pay for the expensive stuff when this works just as well!), a 2-pack of sewing-themed washi tape (so cute!), my latest pattern! (Love Letters), and a set of 2 1/2" x 15" strips to complete the alphabet (26 strips from the Kona Solids New Brights palette). And I'll tuck them all into a sweet little Kona Solids tote by Robert Kaufman.



Oh, yeah! There's a bonus "I love Kona" tattoo! :o)

Comments are now closed. The winner is Comment 50 -- Lethargic Lass! (I'm emailing you now...)

Wanna win it?  Just leave a comment below with your favorite encouragement for moms. I am blessed to stay home with my kids, but I admit to getting discouraged from time to time. (Just keeping it real!)  So tell me what you like to say - or hear - as a pick-me-up. :o) 

(And please make sure you aren't a no-reply blogger! I can't reply to you and tell you you're a winner! That would be sad...) (If you aren't sure, then put your email address in your comment.)

Good luck with this giveaway, and all the others you are entering. I hope you come back and visit sometime! :o)

Here's the link back to the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway page. Go back there and comment on more posts! :o)

*This giveaway will close at midnight MDT on Friday, May 16th, and I will randomly choose a winner and notify you by May 18th.* Again, make sure you aren't a no-reply blogger!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Strip-Easy: Quilt Challenge ~ a future WiP. :o)

I need another project like I need a hole in my head, but Denise at Pieced Brain liked this Shape Shifter block, and suggested I look at her upcoming Strip Challenge.

She's calling it Strip-Easy (like "strip tease", but different) (except I'll be teasing you with my design until the big reveal...) ;) and the idea is to use up the 2 1/2" strips that you already have. No cutting open a new jelly roll, no cutting fabric, unless it's for sashing or background.


                                         

So, in reality, my Shape Shifter blocks won't work since I don't have a pile of those strips, but I do have a pile of leftovers from the roll-up of Kona solids from my Love Letters quilt.

                                       

I'm not sure if I'm going to make a baby quilt with some of the letters, or if I'm going to make a special quilt that my little girlie requested...both would be awesome, I just need to decide. :o)

But, again. I need another project like I need a hole in my head! :o(

If you want to participate in the Strip Easy Quilt Challenge, go to Pieced Brain's blog, and check it out! There will be some fabulous prizes for the winner!

Other than that, I'm still working on the t-shirt quilt, but I'm waiting on some flannel for the border and backing. So far, so good, though! :o)

                                  

Then my Colorado MQG Challenge quilt needs to get to the top of the list. I've got a very short amount of time to complete this, and I have to do it because this all-guild challenge was my dumb idea!

Then there's the matter of quilting  everything I have touched since January...(sigh)

I hope you're all having a great week!

(I'm linking up with Lee of Freshly Pieced for her {WiP}Wednesday post)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

{WiP} Wednesday ~ And a PATTERN!!

So many WiPs! :o)

Oh, so many.

My first is very exciting. I finally finished and listed this pattern for sale on Etsy!  And it's for sale on Craftsy, too! :)


It's called Love Letters, and it's a pattern for all 26 letters (plus a heart), and each letter is made from squares and pieced quarter circles! Oh, be still my beating heart! :o)

Here's a close-up of the P:


I was inspired by the cover of the ESPN Magazine when Le Bron James was on the cover. See, inspiration is everywhere! ;o)  My hope is that people will use the letters and make personalized quilts. That's expected, right?

I give instructions in the pattern for how to piece quarter circles, but there are loads of tutorials online. I don't use pins or glue. Shocking, I know. ;o)  I just found that the glue made it too difficult, and I found it took a lot more time to use pins, but did not improve accuracy.  Seriously!



Here's my sweet girl playing on the quilt top...which is why this is still a WiP, and not a finish! I'm stumped on how to quilt it!!


(Plus I have 3 other quilt tops that need quilting...shame on me!)

Here's my other gotta-finish-soon WiP -- a t-shirt quilt for Dave's cousin as she graduates from high school.


It's actually a really good project for me right now. I feel like I've only done stressful sewing for so long -- two patterns and quilts for Robert Kaufman at Christmas, a super secret project I can't tell anyone about, and now the alphabet quilt. Sometimes you just need to SEW!!!! I'm not usually a fan of mindless sewing for the sake of finishing another mindless quilt (I like meaning behind my quilts. And patterns.), but it just feels good to sew simple lines and make a simple (yet, meaningful...) quilt. :o) 

I just hope the purple sashing isn't a mistake!

Lots of other stuff on the near horizon. Hopefully I can finish this and start my next must-do-now project and show you some progress next week!

I hope you have a wonderful, and crafty, week!

Linking up with Lee of Freshly Pieced for WiP Wednesday. :)