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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Results are in....

Remember this little guy?
I agonized over whether to put this baby quilt into my twins' school auction, & how to value it if I did. (blogged about here.) I ended up submitting it to the auction, & valued it at $60. It ended up selling for $50, & honestly I'm pleased with that. Plus the woman who bought it loved it & though she got a great deal, which made me feel like maybe my work doesn't suck. :)
Our handprint quilt also did well. When I left the auction about 2 hours before it closed, our raffle for the handprints was well over $200, so I'm hoping it made a bit more, but even if it didn't, I feel like our efforts made a decent contribution to the school.
All in all a fairly respectable showing for my first ever venture into any kind of public sale. I don't know that I'm ready to start selling things regularly, but it was a nice ego boost to know that people actually kind of like the things I make. Maybe it will help me shake my novice quilter's insecurity!

Monday, April 22, 2013

what do you do while you sew, besides sew??

So I have always wondered, does anyone use their sewing time for something other than sewing??  Now I am not saying, you claim to sew but really hide in the closet eating a box of chocolates, but double task.  Perhaps you contemplate dinner for that night, mentally shop for the upcoming event or just lose yourself in what you are doing.

I personally have found a great way to continue with my love of reading while sewing by listening to books on CD.  I am really lucky to have a job where I have access to a great library with a ton of books on CD with no limit on the number I can check out.  I have been on a James Patterson kick as of late.  Anyone have any recommendations on other good books to read or listen to??


Busy bee quilts and lets get acquainted.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Busy Busy week, more quilts!

Been busy this week starting projects, and about mid way thru a couple of them.

I decided I loved the offset pattern of a square with just 2 colors.  Me loving scrappy, included a variety of fabrics in same color.  This has been a super quick sew thus far.   The back portion seems to be taking me the longest. Next time I try to piece something together, I am going to try to be methodical about it and not just randomly piece together.  It just requires too much thinking.

 And yes, the pups love checking out the new items that are being modeled.

I have also started a rag quilt for per request from a friend of mine.  Hence the fabric selection.
 Yes, you see it correctly, hello kitty!
A few pieces sewed together at initial stage of sewing into final piece.  I think it will come out really cute in the end.
I am hoping these pieces to be finished this week (doubting for Friday as I do have to work all day tomorrow and haven't figured out how to sew and work all day).  But this weekend is looking promising :)

Linking up to Lee at Freshly Pieced  :)  Have a great rest of your week!


Sunday, April 14, 2013

The naps are gone!

My 4-year old twins have recently stopped napping. I know, it's a sad day. Nap time has morphed into quiet time. (Just typing "quiet time" in relation to my boys makes me laugh. I'm pretty sure they think "quiet" just means turning down the chaos a bit. Ah, boys! Gotta love them, right?) Anyways, attempting housework with the dynamic duo around usually involves them "helping", which I never discourage, but it also means very little gets done. They have much less interest in mom's sewing however, so their rest time has become my new quilting time. So the end of naps isn't a total loss.
Today I used my "quiet" time to piece together my Christmas scrappy trip.

I was originally thinking I'd quilt them all as I went along, but I think I'm going to let this one marinate a bit while I decide on a backing. Plus, that way I can dive into the next project Lisa & I have planned, which is tentatively set to be a string quilt. I've wanted to make one for a while & with Lisa as my sewing buddy, I know I'll actually finish it. (Nothing like deadlines to keep you motivated, right Lisa?) I haven't decided whether I'm going to make a Christmas string quilt (& thus knock out another one of the 7 I need by December!), or make yet another one to keep around our house.
Ah, decisions, decisions! I think the planning & design part is my favorite part of quilting-- I haven't committed to anything yet, & the possibilities are endless!
I'm going to go munch on one of these that the kids I made this morning & contemplate the possibilities.
Linking up to WIP WEdnesday over at Freshly Pieced.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Rag quilt finish

Okay, you have a ton of sewn together rag quilt sandwiches, now lets finish. (especially since Kate jumped forward and finished)

Now take those sandwiches and trim them all down to the correct size.  If you started with 9-inch squares, you will be going down to 8.5 inch squares, and if you started with 6.5-inch squares, you will be trimming down to 6 inch squares.

after making several rag quilts, I have finally invested in these plexiglass like measuring squares you can purchase at sewing stores. I used cardboard squares previously, which worked, but gradually got smaller and smaller over the course of many quilts.

Take all the squares and throw them into a pile

 Grab 2 and sew them together.  The plan here is to make rows of them.  If you are doing the 8.5-inch squares, you will need to sew 6 rows of eight squares together.  If you are doing the 6-inch squares, you will need 10 rows of 12 squares sewed together.  I used to lay all the squares out in the pattern I wanted to achieve, but found it works just the same to just grab and sew because with the rag quilt, perfection is whatever you finish with  :)
When sewing the quilt from here on out, you will be matching the back to the back, so the fringe will be on the front.  ALso, allow for 5/8inch seam.  This way, you will have room to make the cuts for the fringe.  Below is my rough attempt at demonstrating this.

The front with demonstrating the part that will be the fringe

The back of the quilt
So now you have your rows, time to sew those together, again with the same parameters

Don't forget to sew a seam around the entire quilt!
Alright, you have the entire quilt sewn together, now make it rag style.  To do this, you need to cut/snip all of the those edges.  I typically snip every inch or so and make sure you do not snip past the line you sewed it together with.  This will take a while, so be patient.

Wash the quilt and admire your masterpiece.  You will find lint from the quilt in the washer and dryer as it rags up.  It will take a few washes to get this to subside.  So be warned.  But the more you wash it, the cuter it gets!

 and yes, Dexter is helping check out the quilt!


A finish and a start

As you may have seen in a previous post, I have been working on a quilt for the local chapter of the SPCA.  Today they are having a huge fundraiser, and I only hope this beauty can bring them in some money.

I am partial to dogs, so yes there is a lot of dog print throughout the quilt.  But I did manage to incorporate some cats.  And owls. And birds. And Ladybugs.  Overall I think it is rather a happy quilt.  I love making rag quilts, they are so simple and when finished after a few washes, they are just simply adorable.

I also included a label for the quilt using our blog name and then personalized it with the letter L to denote I made the quilt. ( Kate, yours will be in the mail soon! I promise!  )

You can make your own custom labels on I have read thru various blogs.  But I did the quick and dirty method with an iron on since I was in a hurry to get this quilt donated.

After finishing the SPCA rag quilt, I decided I really wanted to try making something else before I started my next rag quilt (I have a special request for a hello kitty style rag quilt- which I will be starting on this weekend)

I found this pattern on pinterest which connects to a flickr account.  The original design per the description was meant for a wedding guest sign in.  That is cool.  But the pattern is just cooler!! I really wanted to use lime green and dark blues for this quilt, so that I did!

I really has been a simple quilt to put together with accomplishing half of this Thursday night alone.  I will say, it is isn't perfect, but as Kate says, it has design elements  :)

I also started on the back.  I have a hard time just putting a solid color back there or just hodge podging stuff together after I worked so hard on the front.  So I took a few left over squares (math was not my forte Thursday evening) and made this.  It isn't finished.  I ran out of white fabric.  So when I go to the store to get some batting, I will be looking to match the remaining hole.
As you can see, almost enough fabric.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!  Happy quilting.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away...

Star Wars is officially finished!
As it turns out, although I was initially on the fence about the x and + blocks, it turns out I really enjoyed making them. The 24-inchers I used here were so much fun I'm contemplating the 6 inch blocks for another project. For Star Wars, I like the look that keeping all the "x" pieces blue gave this quilt, but if I do this block again (& it's a safe bet I'll revisit it!) I'll try a scrappier look.
I pieced the back out of left over Star Wars fabric, mostly because of the look my husband gave me when I realized I didn't have enough of the Death Star battle-scene fabric to back the whole thing. I like the way it turned out though, so it was a happy accident. My son's favorite fabric is actually the blue-print of the machines on the back, & since he's laid claim to this one I'm glad I was able to fit it in somewhere.

I quilted it in a simple diagonal cross-hatch & I used an 80-20 batting. I'm usually a Warm & Natural fan, but I didn't want this one to crinkle up a bunch (no one wants a wrinkly Vader!) It worked out well I think, & my boys have no complaints!

I think my personal favorite part is the pink skull print from Geekly Chic that I snuck in.
I still don't have any good pictures of my rag quilt (it's in use at the moment!), but once I have some I'm sending them on to Lisa for her rag quilt wrap up post.
Have a great weekend & may the force be with you!

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

claiming blog weirdness... bear with me!

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How many is to many?

I have a rule for myself that I can have at most 3 quilts in progress at any one time. For me, "in progress" means actually being worked on RIGHT NOW. So the lurking half-square triangle behemoth hiding in my front closet awaiting the day when I decide to finish the hand quilting, & the black & white strip quilt top that I don't know how to finish don't count. Neither do the projects that are as yet only sketches or piles of fabric. (Really, it's stupid I haven't finished that half-square triangle monster. I'm so close to done. I'm annoyed with myself just thinking about it, but I'm also not getting it out to work on any time soon. I feel like you have to be "in the mood" to hand quilt, & I'm not. But that's a whole different post!)
Anyways-- my magic number is three. I feel like that gives me enough variety so I don't get bored, but not so much variety that I'm overwhelmed. My current three WIP's are:
1- My ongoing Christmas quilts. (I'm making one for each of my aunts this year, so I need 6 total.) The first is a scrappy trip, & I have half the blocks pieced.
2- I'm doing this quilt along. Bloom Bloom Pow Quilt-Along at Freshly Pieced
I love the pattern, but couldn't afford the pearl bracelets that Lee is using, so I'm using a mix of solid fat quarters I had.

I also switched the background to black (Kona pepper, technically.) My intent was to have my lightest values be the spokes & the darker shades take the place of the lighter triangles Lee used, since on a dark background the light shades will jump out the most. In a total dolt moment however, I followed her cutting direction so exactly that my dark shades are the spokes & the lights are the backgrounds, just like on Lee's original white blocks. (I hope that all made sense!) By the time I realized my mistake, it was too late to correct it, so I'm rolling with it & hoping it will still look ok. We'll call it a "design choice" & hope for the best!
3- Until today, the rag quilt project Lisa & I were working on was my #3, but I finished it while my littles were napping! Snipping & all! (& boy, was that snipping the seam allowances brutal! I don't think I'll be making another rag quilt any time soon, especially since I know Lisa will whip them up for me. Right, Lisa?) I don't have any pictures, since it's currently buried under children & is in need of a wash, but I'll post some later this week.
My new #3 is going to be a bed quilt for my folks. My mom has been asking & I think it's time!

I'm posting for Lisa today too, since one of us actually has to leave her house to work. (& since I'm still in pajamas, it's a safe bet that it's not me!)
Lisa is a mom to 3 giant doggy fur-babies- Dexter, Dakota & Draco. (You've probably seen Dex lurking in some of her photos.) They're all rescues & Lisa loves a good cause, so she is donating one of her rag quilts to her local SPCA auction. She's got some super-cute puppy fabrics in there, & I can personally vouch for cuddliness of her quilts! Hopefully she gest it done in time & it brings in good money for a good cause!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday!

Sunday, April 7, 2013


Like most quilters who blog, I read a lot of quilting blogs. Every so often some one will post a picture of their sewing space (usually an actual sewing or craft room). It will be beautifully lit with natural sunshine, have darling refinished furniture & a bounteous stash organized by color & displayed in some cute shelving perhaps (or maybe trendy hat boxes, or tidy rubbermaids.)
I see those pictures & spend a few minutes drooling, & wishing for the day when I too will organize my fabric by designer & hue, (HA! who am I kidding? I'll be glad just to get it off my floor!) or have a cutting table you can walk all the way around (writers of quilting books seem to take it for granted that we can all find & house a tall table, long enough to accommodate & yards & yards of fabric.)
Then I remember I'm a cop's wife & a stay-at-home-mother of 4, & I'm lucky simply to be able to indulge my favorite hobby, even if that means sewing in our crowded, noisy kitchen while my children make capes & headbands out of my stash of quilting cottons.
This doesn't mean I don't still enjoy ogling other people's gorgeous workspaces, but I'm learning to be content with mine, in all its messy, inconvenient imperfection.
So here it is:
My machine sits on a battered old desk that used to live in my husband's parents' barn. You can see years & years of his father's & grandfather's signatures scratched into the wood. (Which might be cool if it were an antique, but it's a 1970ish piece of funk.) But it is sturdy & it serves. It lives in our kitchen now, where I can catch moments of stitching between all the crazy that goes on in our house. (That's my Star Wars quilt getting a binding put on. My dudes were so excited to finally have this one done!)

This is what my workpace usually looks like- kids, fabric & playdough everywhere! (We're on a serious play-dough kick here. They play this at least once a day, usually twice. In a week or so we'll have a new obsession, but for now I'm loving that they're loving something I love. Who doesn't dig play-dough, after all? & yes, I keep the rotary cutter far from little fingers!)
Anyways, that's a peek into my little "sewing room", aka our kitchen. Linking up to Plum & June's Let's Get Acquainted. Happy Monday!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Rag Quilt: Making the square sandwich.

Its a day late, for finish it Friday, but it was completed on Friday...

And behold, rag quilt finish.  This is one of the rag quilts I am working on for the rag quilt tutorial.  (next installment for it is below  :)  )

That would be Dexter dog hiding behind the quilt trying to figure out what I was doing while these pictures were taken.  The first picture is the back, which is made out of flannel.  And the 2nd picture is front which is made from typical quilt fabric

And without further wait, it is step two of the rag quilt

So you have gone through and cut up your squares.  Please note, I yet again noticed a typo in the total number of squares (please forgive me, this is the first tutorial I have done).

Now you are going to take your squares and make a sandwich with the batting in between the 2 pieces of fabric.  To start this process, I like to take all my squares and batting and lay them out.  This way I can mix and match to make sure I get a lot of variety throughout the quilt.

 Then I make the sandwiches, with a piece of batting in between the 2 layers of fabric.  I stack them up as you can see below.

Next you sew them together.  I chose to make a simple X in the square to secure them together.
And you keep sewing and sewing until you have a stack of all your batting sewed in between 2 pieces of fabric.  Please keep in mind, if you are doing 2 different fabrics,( like I completed in the above finished rag quilt), make sure to have one of those pieces of fabric be the back (i.e. flannel) so the finished product will come out correctly.

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for Friday finish and Kelly at The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking, for being my inspiration/guidance to this rag quilt tutorial

Friday, April 5, 2013

How do you use a quilt?

We have a LOT of quilts in our house. I give some away, but mostly we keep them & they pile up-- on our couch, in my kids' rooms, on our beds.
One of my personal favorite quilt uses is this:
Who doesn't love a giant fort covered in random quilts?
Building this sucker was my finish for the week. Sometimes life interferes with sewing:)
TGIF & Happy Friday!

Linking up to Finish It Friday at CrazyMomQuilts.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

WIPs & some quilting therapy

Never would have I imagined that I would be  using quilting as my creative outlet. It has become my therapy to self reflect, relax and just get back to the basics.  I used to always use a good work out, a great book, or just an awesome nap.  But now I find myself after a stressful day of work, looking forward to coming home and just sewing.  My choice of therapy this week, my crazy quilt.

It is still a work in progress, but the therapy is has provided over the last several days has been priceless.

I hope to have the top part of the this crazy quilt finished this week, and will be working on the back this weekend.   But, of course, I have about 5 other projects also lined up for the weekend.  Good thing I have a few days off work coming up.

It's Kate here, I'm jumping in at the end of Lisa's post to add on my current WIP! I finished piecing my Star Wars giant X and + quilt top this week & spent yesterday basting while one of my boys cheered me on ("Go, Mama, go! You can do it!") from the couch. I'd like to think he was excited about quilting, but more than likely he was cheering for Star Wars. Whatever-- I'll take a cheering section any day! Made basting (my least favorite part) go much faster.

Also, per Lisa's request, here is my little stack of flannel waiting to be cut into squares for our rag quilt. I'm not going super scrappy, so it will have a little different look than Lisa's.

Happy humpday & happy sewing!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday!