Monday, July 30, 2012


Now that I have blogged about all my past projects since starting sewing last October, I can finally blog about my current project - and the reason I wanted to start this blog!

I decided in May of this year that I wanted to make quilts for both of my nieces for Christmas. Knowing that it was going to take me a good 6 months, I decided to start right away. As the first quilt is coming together, I have also decided that I want my local quilt shop to long-arm quilt both quilts. Just another reason I need to kick it in gear & get these quilt tops done!

I decided on just simple patchwork patterns for both quilt tops since I think it will complement the fabrics for both and also I didn't want the girls to fight over them. Oh, who am I kidding. They probably won't even like them, but I can dream, right? ;)

So I started with Ava's quilt. Mostly just because I already had the fabric I thought was perfect for her. (Again this was Hobby Lobby fabric that I bought prior to taking the beginner's class at the quilt shop. It just does not cooperate as well as nice quilting cotton fabric.) Pictured below are the 18 fat quarters I started with. Shades of pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Also a little white and a little brown.

Also pictured is my sewing machine that my husband bought for me in January. As much as I would love to have a nice, expensive Bernina, I just couldn't justify it since I had just started sewing & wasn't sure if I would stick with it. So I chose this Brother machine that has lots of the same features as the Bernina 440 QE that I used at the quilt shop. I seriously love this machine!

I also discovered Instagram somewhere along the line so these pictures are all taken with Instagram. However, I have decided that I am no longer as in love with Instagram - at least for taking pictures of fabric & quilts, because it distorts the color so much. That was cool at first, but now I am wishing I had more realistic representation of the colors.

For this quilt, I cut my fat quarters into six strips, 3" x 21". I then sewed 4 strips together and pressed the seams open. I pressed the seams open for this project because I am just doing this randomly and without a pattern, so I didn't want to have to plan around the seam directions. Then, I cut the 4 strips across, horizontally, into seven pieces, each measuring 3" x 10.5". Which gave me a stack like this:

Then I picked out 4 sets of strips and sewed them together to make a block, 4 squares across x 4 squares down. Then I pressed the seams open again. This block measures 10.5" x 10.5". I checked my blocks with a square and squared up any that needed adjusting.

 After that I started laying them out on my bedroom floor to see how they all looked together & also to decide what dimensions to make the final quilt. I decided on 50" x 70", so 5 blocks x 7 blocks. I had made 36 blocks just in case I decided to make my quilt 60" x 60", so I have one leftover block that I plan on using on the back of the quilt. I also had some scraps leftover from the cutting & piecing of the strip sets, so I am thinking I will try to incorporate them into the back of the quilt as well.

I hope to get these blocks sewn together by the end of the week. I'll keep you posted!


kindle cover for quilt shop display

I made the same Kindle cover that I made for my mom, for my local quilt shop to have on display. I followed the same tutorial and used the same modifications I used last time, but I cut my elastic a bit shorter. I wanted to see if I could get it to be a bit tighter across the cover. I found that cutting the elastic to about 8 inches was the shortest I could go without having trouble sewing it on. If I make another cover, I might try using a hair elastic and a button to hold the cover shut...

I used one of the fabric pieces from the Vintage Modern line (by Bonnie & Camille for Moda) for this cover. It is a really beautiful fabric line and I can't wait to make a quilt with it!


kindle cover mother's day gift

For Mother's Day this year, I made my mom a Kindle case for her Kindle Fire. I had found this tutorial online and it looked like something I could make. The best part is that this cover only takes one fat quarter of fabric, an 18" x 22" (or equivalent) piece of interfacing, batting for the outside cover, and a piece of elastic! So I set off following the instructions and only had to rip stitches out one time. ;) I think a piece of pink elastic would have complemented the fabric a little bit better, but no big deal. I did make a few modifications to the tutorial. I cut the fabric 9" tall instead of 8" tall to accommodate the Fire since the tutorial is for the regular Kindle. I also used a 1/4" seam for everything.

Below is a picture of the outside front of the case with the elastic holding the cover shut. The elastic also flips over to the back so you can use it to hold the cover open when you are reading.

Inside the case there is a pocket that you can store the Kindle in when you are not reading. Or you can use the pocket to store the charger, a small notebook, etc.

And here is a view of the Kindle in "reading" mode - tucked into the 4 triangular corners.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

emma grace quilt

 I started this quilt back in January of this year. The fabrics are mostly Emma Grace (by Kathy Brown of the Teacher's Pet for Red Rooster Fabrics). I tried to bring out the aqua and red shades in the Emma Grace line by using some "solid-ish" fabrics in matching hues. Those fabrics are not actually solids, they do have some "texture" to them. I made this quilt top from fat quarters. The pattern is supposed to look like a ladder and was inspired by this quilt. The strips are 4" tall and 21" long. The cream blocks are 4" square. This quilt top went together very quickly. I have basted it and started to quilt it.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ava's birthday gifts

My niece, Ava, had her birthday waaaayyy back in March. She turned 7 this year. For her birthday, I made her a duvet cover for her down comforter, a matching pillow, and also a fabric covered cork board. Her mom redecorated her room in pink, gray, and black. It looks so cool! We found this fabric at Hobby Lobby. Don't get me wrong, Hobby Lobby has some cool fabric, but it just doesn't "handle" the same as fabric I get at my local quilt shop. But for non-quilting projects, it works just fine.

This duvet cover was pretty basic and simple to put together. Fortunately, the pattern of the fabric was busy enough that I didn't really have to worry about matching up the pattern repeat at the seams. For the construction, I pieced the "front" and "back" of the duvet cover using 5 yards of each fabric. There is one large panel in the center, and then 2 smaller panels on either side of that. I laid the 2 sides down with right sides together. I then sewed a zipper onto the "bottom" end of the duvet cover. Then I opened the zipper and sewed the 3 remaining sides shut using a 1" seam allowance. Lastly, I flipped the duvet cover right side out by pulling it through the open zipper. Easy peasy. I made the matching pillow cover in the exact same manner. (By the way: I left the selvedge on the fabric and sewed 1" from the selvedge. On the other edges, I used my pinking shears to prevent fraying. Of course, if you wanted to be more fancy and professional, you could use a french seam.) 

The duvet cover is reversible, so Ava can decide if she wants the pink or the black showing. My sister tells me that if Ava makes the bed, she puts the pink showing, but if Rachel (my sister) makes the bed, she puts the black showing. I get a kick out of that. Looks like Rachel made the bed the day I took this picture!

I also had an old cork board in my basement from my time at college. My college roommate's mom had made a fabric cover for it to match the duvet cover she made me at the time. So I decided to do the same for Ava.

The cork board cover actually took more time than the duvet cover, but of course that is because there was more piecing and pressing involved. This is where I really noticed the difference in fabric quality.

I cut 5" squares of pink and black patterned fabric as well as a 5" square of solid black fabric for each 5" square of patterned fabric. I can't remember right off hand how many of each I had to cut, but of course the number of squares needed is dictated by how large the cork board is. This cork board is 24" x 36".

Now then, after I cut my 5" squares of fabric, I laid one patterned square of fabric on top of one solid black square of fabric, right sides together. Then I used my Fons and Porter quarter inch seam marker and chalk to mark 1/4" inch from each side of the diagonal. Sorry I don't have any pictures of this, but again, this blogging thing just came to me recently and I made this way back in late February. Once I had the 1/4" seam marked, I stitched on each line and then cut the squares apart along the diagonal using my rotary cutter. (You could also skip the step where you mark the 1/4" seam with chalk and just sew 1/4" from the diagonal using your 1/4" foot, but I prefer to mark as I am more accurate that way.)

From there, I pressed each triangle open, so that it was again a full square, but with one triangle of solid black fabric and the other triangle of patterned fabric. If you are new to the quilting world, these squares are called "Half Square Triangles". I pressed my seams to the solid black fabric, but in hindsight, it might have worked better to press the seams open to reduce bulk.

Once I had all my half square triangles made, I laid them out in a chevron pattern and then sewed them into rows. Then I joined the rows to make the covering, which measured a few inches larger than the 24" x 36" of the board. Then I wrapped the fabric around the cork board and stapled the fabric to the back of the board, mitering the corners.

I had planned on wrapping black ribbon across the board in a diamond pattern, so pictures and such could be tucked under the ribbon, but with the chevron layout plus the pattern of the fabric, it was just too busy. So my mom found some really cool thumb tacks (also at Hobby Lobby) that were black and gray and had paisley patterns on them - similar to the pink and black patterned fabrics. We spelled out Ava's name in the lower right hand corner, just for fun.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

second quilt: Quilts For Kids quilt

The second quilt I made I finished in February of 2012 and was for the organization Quilts For Kids. This is a great organization that supplies quilters with fabric and a pattern and the quilter sends the finished quilt back to their local chapter (or the national headquarters if so desired) for distribution to a children's hospital. You can learn more about Quilts For Kids here. I really wanted to make a quilt for my local Iowa chapter since my niece battled leukemia (& won) a few years ago and I know she would have loved to receive a quilt when she was undergoing treatment. You can read more about my niece's battle here if you so desire. She was treated at the Children's Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska and so I hope to make another QFK quilt for the Nebraska chapter in the future.

The quilt kit I was sent was for a disappearing nine patch. This worked out great because I hadn't made that pattern yet (obviously since it was only my 2nd quilt - haha!). The fabrics were fun to work with because I love batiks and also because orange is the color for leukemia! The focus fabric was a cute dark purple butterfly print, which I was a little sad that I had to cut it into smaller squares for the pattern, but I think it ended up looking really fun! I could see a little girl just like my niece snuggling with this quilt while enduring chemo. Below is a close up picture of the fabrics.

You'll have to forgive the poor photography quality as I took these pictures on my iPhone and obviously no longer have the quilt to take better pictures. I did outline quilting 1/4" away from each seam. I think it gave the quilt a nice drape and left it slightly puffy, which I think a small child would prefer. Below is a picture of the whole quilt. Again, pardon the poor photo.

I had a little bit of the butterfly print left over, so I fussy cut around the butterflies and appliqued the squares in the corners of the quilt. I zigzagged around the appliqued squares to stay with the geometric "feel" of this quilt. All of the fabrics are provided by QFK, with the exception of the binding. Some people use left over backing for the binding, but I didn't think that would compliment the purple border very well, so I purchased a dark purple fabric for the binding. I don't know that I love the look of the dark purple binding, but as this was only my second quilt, I tried to not be too hard on myself. ;)

 And lastly a picture of the back of the quilt. This fabric was a purple-blue fabric with more butterflies. Unfortunately I don't have information on any of the fabric as I didn't get any selvedge since the fabric is sent to you "ready to quilt". The selvedges are already cut off and the pieces cut as needed. Of course, it is nice that you can take the fabric out of the package, give it a quick press, and you are ready to sew! This quilt ended up measuring approximately 36" x 44" if I remember correctly.

I also sewed a label onto the lower right hand corner of the back of the quilt. The labels are also provided by QFK in conjunction with Tide's Loads of Hope project. If you haven't heard about that, you can read about it here. I really enjoyed making my second quilt and I hope a little kid is enjoying it right now!