Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sneak Peak

Today we register the kids for school. We get a sneak peak at Sara's teacher, so I thought I'd give you a little sneak peak at the finished doll quilt.The book bag is finished just in time and there has been a small change to the Room of Requirement - OK, it's the Sewing Room or the Studio. I'll have pictures to share tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Work in Progress

Just finishing up a few projects - for Sara. It seems like she is the one that receives/claims all of the handmade items around here. She wanted one of these dolls, with the white hair. Now she just needs to have her dress made and tea dyed for that antique look. Something for her/something for me - I love old/antique things. The part that I'm the most thrilled about is that I was able to use my snap press for the eyes. They are a little bigger than the doll on the pattern - what do you think? Now I'm chomping at the bit to make a few red headed raggedy anne dolls - antique of course.
More frillyness...I talked Sara into a book bag rather than a backpack for school this year. To my surprise, she picked out some frilly colors. Like me she's a tomboy at heart, but she's not afraid to express her girly side either. The inside of the bag is pink paisley and the flap and shoulder strap are a blue and green plaid. It all goes together really well. I'm thinking about stitching an S on the flap - sort of the same style as the L that Laverne used to have on her shirts. Then comes the button or snap question. It's calling out for a nice big button on the front, but I'm wondering if a snap or two would be a little more practical. It's the whole form over function thing. I'm more of a function over form person. Hopefully I'll have some finished pictures soon.
The blue floral and pink paisley fabric are hand-me-down Ikea fabrics from my mom - thanks Mom!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cathedral Window Tutorial

Many have asked for it, so here it is - the Cathedral Window Tutorial. I hope the instructions make sense, and that you enjoy making this blanket as much as I did. My advice...start small. Try a doll quilt or baby quilt before you get yourself in too deep. I would also say that as you increase the size of the quilt, increase the size of your squares.

This quilt requires quite a bit of background fabric, however, what you spend on extra fabric, you will save on batting since none is needed.

First cut your background fabric into squares. The finished square will be just under half the size that you cut your fabric. I cut my fabric into 10 inch squares – which gave me a 4 ½ inch finished square.With right sides together, fold the square in half and sew ¼ inch seem along each end.
Iron each seam allowance open.Matching the center seams, pin the fabric RS together. Sew together leaving a small opening for turning. In the picture below, I would sew from the corner to the first pin, skip the space between that pin and the next, then finish sewing to the end of the fabric.Turn the square through the opening, making sure the get all of the corners pointed, then iron flat. You don’t need to worry about the opening that you just used to turn your fabric. It will be covered up in the next step.

Now you are ready for a little origami. Fold and press each corner to the center of the square. The opening that you left for turning will be face up and the folds should cover it.
Use your machine to tack down the corners. When doing this, you should pay more attention to the center corners than the out side corner. They will be the ones that show. You don’t want a lot of stitching here, just run 3-4 stitches across two of the corners, then the other two. The stitching will look like a little plus sign.This is the finished block. Once you have all of your blocks done, place them next to each other (not overlapping) and run a zigzag stitch along the center to connect them. Continue until you have all of the blocks together.The fun part – measure the square between the blocks. Cut your center pieces about ¼ inch smaller than the measurement. My squares were about 3 ¼ inches, so I cut my featured fabric at 3 inches. Place the fabric over the square. Fold down and pin one side. It will naturally fold into a curve. Sew along that curve with a blanket stitch, a small zigzag or just a straight stitch close to the edge. Repeat for each edge, folding down then sewing one edge at a time. It is important to wait to sew the featured fabric down after all of the blocks have been put together. In the sample I only sewed two together to better illustrate where to place the fabric. On the edges of the blanket, you will fold down and sew the edges of the blank squares. When you turn over your blanket, you will notice that it is already quilted.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cute as a Button

A package that I forgot was coming arrived in the mail today - I love that! This is what I found inside the package. A little something for Sara and a little something for me. Although now that they are here, I want her's too!
These came from a new Etsy Shop called TheCornerCottage. They are super cute and you can't beat the price.
I just might have to pop back in and pick up a couple more.

Still working on the quilt for the doll quilt swap and the Cathedral Tutorial.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Trying my hand at machine quilting.

Receiving the People's Choice award for There's No Place like home, and all of the lovely comments on the Cathedral Window Quilt have really put me in a quilting mood. So I thought I'd try my hand at a little free motion machine quilting. In reality, I'm trying to decide if I should take a class or if its just practice makes perfect.

I have had this quilt pulled together for some time now - over a year. I was actually hand stitching it, but after pulling it out again, I found that my stitches were more the size of a basting stitch. I love the quilt, the colors, the mix of flannel and regular fabric....but well, let's just say it was my first big quilt. Things don't match up exactly the way they should - which is OK.
I'm thinking this is the perfect quilt to really practice some free motion machine stitching. I did some free motion on There's No Place Like Home, but it was free form. I didn't have to follow a pattern. This time I've used the press n' seal method. You trace your pattern onto Glad press n' seal, then you sew directly on to the press n' seal and tear it off when you're done. Sort of like paper piecing. So far so good.

Oh, and a little bad news/good news. Bad news is I've received my partners info for the swap and let's just say that the pastel girly thing isn't going to work - more on that later- and I have to make another doll quilt (ok, not so bad news) and the good news is that I get to keep the Cathedral Window quilt. And...I'm still working on the Cathedral Window tutorial -hint, hint to my swap partner.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Don't you just love surprises?

What can be better than sewing and surprises? I was able to get in on my first blogy type swap - Doll Quilt Swap 4 - and I feel like a kid again. Remember when you would write to your pen pal in elementary school? It was such a great feeling...the excitement, the suspense. I'm feeling pretty excited at the moment. I whipped my part of the trade together this weekend.
This was my first attempt at a Cathedral Window quilt. There was a demonstration over at the local quilt show, so I thought I would try it out before it feel out of my brain - and what better way to try something new than on a small scale doll quilt. It's actually a lot easier than it looks.
The background fabric was a thrifted vintage pillow case - I think I remember the pattern growing up, does that make me vintage? Anywho, the center pieces are scraps from a grab bag at a local quilt shop. You know when you pay something like $2 a bag and stuff as many scraps as you can in the bag, then you get home and think what am I ever going to do with all of those little pieces.

Now the only question left is to bind or not to bind. You don't have to bind a Cathedral Window quilt because the edges are finished, but I'm having a hard time having a quilt that doesn't have a binding. It just seems wrong some how.

There is a button over in the column on the right for the Doll Quilt Swap if you want to check out what everyone else is coming up with.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

July 1st - is it the 2nd Already?

I love quilting. It's that simple. I love the entire process - picking out fabric, choosing a pattern or coming up with one of my own, piecing the top, actually quilting the quilt and even sewing on the binding. The "There's No Place Like Home" quilt was so fulfilling. The self satisfaction when I look at it is amazing and brings a smile to my face every time. While it's been up at the quilt show, I've enjoyed spying on people as they've admired and explored all of the details. Nothing could be better - well, receiving the People's Choice Award wasn't so bad either!

The quilt show is coming to an end, baseball season is trickling out and a new month is here with all of it's promises. July promises to bring a few different friends from out of state that we haven't seen in years, soccer season, a new city pool with slides and the works, and most importantly it has already brought me a 14 year old. Aaron turned 14 yesterday and boy do I feel old. How is that even possible? 13 was a cute I'm a teenager age, but 14 and taller than me is just strange. I also feel a larger sense of the little time that we have left with him until he's out of the nest. For now we'll enjoy all of the bikes and skateboards that we trip over each day and not worry about the steps that need to be redone or the driveway that could use a make over. Besides, all my money is wrapped up in braces, clothes and sports. Although, a little weeding wouldn't hurt.