Sunday, November 27, 2011

Can I get kleenex please?

Om my goodness...what a Thanksgiving!  I think I was sick for most of it.  I'm still not quite over it but I'm starting to feel a little better.  What a terrible time to get sick.  Needless to say, no black Friday shopping for me.  I think I slept most of Friday.  Unfortunately, I was nice enough to give my hubby this yuckiness.  He's been curled up in the recliner all day.  I think I'm on his naughty list for that!

I just wanted to share with all our followers that we are joining in the Cyber Monday craziness.  You can use coupon code CyberM2011 when checking out to get 30% off your entire purchase. 

That's all I have for tonight as I'm still a bit under the weather.  I'm hoping to get busy sewing again tomorrow. 


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone is ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow.  I know I'm ready to chow down on pumpkin pie and fried turkey! 

This week hasn't been very productive for me as far as sewing goes.  I spent most of today driving to and from Dallas so that I could go shopping at the Moda & United Notions Warehouses!  I just love visiting Moda.  I get to wander around looking at all the bolts of fabric.  They go on and on forever.  I can get lost in there for hours.  Today, I was on a mission for batting and a few solids.  Check out the gorgeous cross weaves I picked up.   

This fabric is so cool.  It's actually woven using two different colored threads ~ one for the warp and one for the weft.  It really creates depth and vibrancy in the fabric.  It almost looks iridescent when the light hits it.  I can't wait to try it out.  I also jumped on the bandwagon and picked up some solid grey.  Grey is so popular right now.  I think I'm going to combine these vibrant cross weaves with the grey. 

Unfortunately, I think I'm coming down with a cold.  Yuck!  But I still managed to find enough energy to make my pumpkin pies tonight.  Man do they smell good!

2 down...2 to go

This family is crazy for pumpkin pie.  I have to make 4 pies for a family of 4!   I also have my sweet potato casserole mixed up and ready to bake.  Tomorrow should be pretty laid back as far as cooking.  Thank goodness!  Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow. 

Don't forget to check out Hannah's quilt at Free Quilt Patterns! And make sure you click 'like' if you like her quilt.  I think she did a fantastic job especially since she's only 15.  I'm so proud!

Well that's all I have for tonight.  I want to wish everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving! 


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How NOT to Machine Stitch Binding & a BIG Announcement!

I'm going to start with the BIG announcement because I just can't hold it in any more.  Hannah, my 15 year old daughter, has her first pattern featured on Free Quilt Patterns!

I'm so proud of her!  I almost forgot...she's the youngest designer they have ever featured!  Woohoo!!  Please check it out and click 'like' if you like her design.

Moving on to other matters...I'm going to show you how I finished my son's dinosaur quilt by machine stitching the binding.  I learned the hard way what NOT to do.  Just a brief background.  When I designed this quilt I used 1" sashing and corner stones.  That was my first mistake.  They sure do look cute but what a pain in the neck!  I had to rip out several stitches because when I was piecing it, I doubled up many of those pesky 1" sashings.  Ugh...this quilt has been a little cursed from the beginning!

Here's a picture of the quilt

My hubby and Hannah drew the dinos for the applique.  Aren't they super talented? 

I didn't want the binding to overlap the tiny sashing too much so I decided to use a larger than normal seam allowance when I attached it to the back of the quilt.  Mistake number 2!  I barely had enough binding to wrap around to the front and stitch down.  Not to mention it barley covered the stitch line.  And, the corners were near impossible to miter.  But, I was not about to rip off all the binding. {I'm too lazy!}  So I made it work.  I used a gazillion pins and stabbed myself a million times.  Good thing I didn't draw blood since I was working with white binding!  

You can see that I had to use tons of pins, especially at the corners.  It was even tricky getting the pins stuck in the binding.  That's why they're all at an angle.   
Once I had all the pins I own in this quilt, it was time to stitch it down.  

I backstitched when I started.  I worked my way around until I got to the first corner.  I stitched up to the mitered corner and then left the needle down and raised the foot so I could pivot the quilt.  

I was almost to the point of pivoting the quilt.
I left my needle down and it's time to pivot. 

Then I started down the next side.  I kept going until I was finished!  And was I ever glad to be finished!

The best part about this whole mess was when my son woke up this morning and saw his finished quilt laying on the living room floor.  He was so excited to try it out! 

In the past, I have always used a 1/4" seam allowance when attaching the binding.  In the future, I will ALWAYS use a 1/4" seam allowance when attaching the binding!      

Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to check out Hannah's quilt! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Half Square Traingles made with the Strip Tube Ruler

Happy Saturday to all my quilting buddies out there!  I decided to work on my Pepto quilt today.  The design I came up with is going to require 240 half square triangles. {HSTs}  Say what!  Yes I said 240 HSTs.  I must be crazy.

I wanted to show you a quick and easy way to make HSTs by using the Strip Tube Ruler.  It's one of my favorite methods.

All you need is a rotary cutter & the strip tube ruler.

I need 4.5" finished HSTs for my Pepto quilt so my HSTs need to measure 5" before I sew them together.  When you use the strip tube ruler all you do is cut strips of fabric and sew them together.  If you can sew a straight line, you can make HSTs.  And you can make a lot of them at one time.

A HST is made up of 2 colors.  Mine will be half pink and half beige.  Therefore, I cut one 4" wide strip of pink and one 4" wide strip of beige.

The strips of fabric are put right sides together and sewn 1/4" on each side  This makes a tube of fabric.

You can see I've already sewn a 1/4" seam on the left side.  Now I'm doing the other side.

Now I use my strip tube ruler and start cutting the HSTs.  I mentioned my HSTs need to be 5" unfinished.  This is important information to know.  This tells me what line on the strip tube ruler I need to use.  I will be laying the 5" line of the ruler on my stitch line.  See the picture below.


Then I use my rotary cutter and cut up one side and down the other.

I flip the strip tube ruler over to the other stitch line and cut again.  That's HST number 2.

I keep going until I run out of fabric.

I was able to get 11 HSTs from one tube of fabric.

My pile of 11 HSTs

Of course the number of HSTs will vary depending on what size you need.  The smaller the HST the more you will be able to get out of one tube.  And vice versa.  The strip tube ruler will make HSTs as small as 1/2" up to 9.5."  I am NOT even crazy enough to make any 1/2" HSTs!  That's just not going to happen.   

Once I had them all cut I pressed them open and trim off the little triangle corners. 

Trim that little triangle off. 
Here they are after I've pressed them all open and trimmed the little triangles.

It shouldn't take me too long to get 240 HSTs made using this method. 

I can't really think of any negative aspects of the strip tube ruler.  All in all it's a pretty efficient way to make HSTs. 

Have you used the strip tube ruler?  If so, do you like it?  I know I do.

As always...I try to make my tutorials easy to follow.  If something doesn't make sense just leave me a comment.  I'll do my best to clear it up.

Happy Quilting

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How to Square Up a Block and more...

It's been another busy day around here.  I didn't feel like working on the binding for either of my quilts that need I didn't.  But here's a look at the Sunkissed Quilt without the binding.

The soft pink and grey colors are so beautiful.

Today I started working on 1 of 5 quilts that my step mom has asked me to make.  She was gifted 12 hand embroidered blocks and would like them made into a quilt.  These are proving to be quite the challenge for me.  They are huge blocks {18"} and very pink!  Light pink, medium pink, dark pink and maybe a splash of red.  She told me to "do whatever I want with them."  I've spent several months just looking at them not knowing what I wanted to do. {Thank goodness she's not in a hurry} I think I finally have a plan of action.

I need to square them up and trim them down to 16.5."  I figured this would be a good time to take pictures and show you how I square up my blocks.

Let's take a look at the block

I always start by finding the center of the block.  Finding the center on this block turned out to be pretty easy.  My square up ruler has cross hairs and a hole in the middle.  That allowed me to mark the center.

You can see in the above picture that the black lines on the ruler actually fit nicely inside the embroidered design.  I'm sure I wasn't 100% exact on finding the middle but I got as close as possible.  Then I took my Pilot Frixion pen and marked the center.  

The pink dot is approximately in the center of the block.
Now it's time to put the square up ruler back on the block.  I need to determine where to put the ruler.  My ruler has a diagonal line with measurements marked on it.  I find the 8.25" point {half of 16.5"} on the diagonal line and place it on my mark. Unfortunately, my pink post it note is covering up the 8 on the ruler.  {I placed the post note on the ruler to help identify the point.  Basically, the bottom left corner of the post it note is the center of my block and the 8.25" mark on the ruler}  I hope that makes sense.   

There was excess fabric on the top and right sides of the ruler.  This is what I trimmed off. 

You can see another pink post it note under the ruler.  You'll find out why in a minute. 

I removed the ruler.  Now I'm going to flip my block so that the top right corner will become the bottom left corner.  Watch the pink post note. 

I flipped the block.  The previously trimmed sides are now on the left and bottom.

The block is lined up with the 16.5" lines on the left and bottom. 

I replace the ruler so I can trim the last 2 sides.  This time the ruler will line up nicely with the left and bottom.  I line it up with the 16.5" lines on the ruler.  Now I trim the right and top.

That's it.  My block is square and measures 16.5" inches.  I think I'm going to nick name this quilt the Pepto quilt for obvious reasons.  I'm worried it might end up looking like a Pepto Bismol mess.  Not to mention I think my step mom plans on using this in their bedroom.  Oh boy...I hope dad loves pink!  But I might have an idea.  How about some pink camo for the backing?  It could be like a mullet {business in the front, party in the back}.  Lady like on top, manly on the back???  I thought it was pretty clever.  Not so sure about my step mom.  It might just be the end of "do whatever you want."

I almost forgot.  I also made a block for a quilt along being hosted by Vanessa at the Crafty Gemini.  

I do try very hard to make my tutorials clear.  I know sometimes it's clear as mud.  Please don't hesitate to ask  if you don't understand something or I've confused you beyond belief.  Leave us a comment or send us an email


Monday, November 14, 2011

Slowly Getting Back in the Game

I'm so excited that mom is finally able to start teaching again.  She loves teaching others how to quilt and embroider.  She hasn't been able to do much since Gene had the stroke but things are finally settling down and she's able to get busy again.  Marilyn, one of our good friends, loves to go to mom's house and sew, sew, sew.  She is a piecing queen!  She loves for us to put together kits and BOM's for her.  {BOM = Block of the Month}  She was able to go to mom's last week and work on a quilt that mom and I designed back in March.  It's a sampler quilt filled with half square triangles {HST} done in Hoffman batiks.  Here's a little preview...

I love these colors!

This is Grasshopper green!

You can see here that Marilyn loves to use the Marin & Colusa Stitching Lines  to make her half square triangles!  Boy do the stitching lines make HST's easy!

Look at her go!

But that's not all!  Saundra, another great sewing friend, also showed up at mom's last week to work on some embroidery projects.  She bought a Babylock embroidery machine awhile ago and mom has been teaching her how to use it.  Yes, my mom is extremely talented.  She used to sell Babylock machines so she knows how those bad boys work.   Mom even digitized the design for Saundra.

All done!
Just a few threads to clip!
Looks like mom has been busy.  I'm so glad she's been able to get back to sewing.  I know she's missed it. 

That's it for now...I need to get busy sewing.


Dinosaur Quilt is Finally Ready for Quilting

I can't believe the weekend is over and it's Monday!  Where does the time go?  I didn't get much quilting done over the weekend but we did manage to wrap up the soccer season.  Our kiddos finished 6-2 which is pretty darn good considering 5 of the 9 players were new this season.

I did manage to finish my Moda Sunkissed Bliss quilt.  I have a little sneak peak of it.  I still have to finish the binding.

I love the pink and grey Sunkissed fabric. 
That quilt was another one that mom and I entered into the pattern contest.  It was not a winner either.  Oh well, I still like it.  I'll post pictures of the entire quilt once I get the binding on it.

Today, I loaded my son's dinosaur quilt that's been waiting for about 6 months to get quilted.  In my defense I have been fighting two bulging discs for the past 7 months so my quilting has been limited.  I finally got 8 shots in my back and it's helped a little.  Here's a look at it loaded and ready to be quilted. 

This is another pattern that I designed.  My husband and daughter drew the applique dinosaurs for me because I'm not good at drawing.  And mom appliqued around all the dinosaurs when she was visiting in March.  This quilt was a pain in my rear.  I had to rip out several seams because of my inability to follow my own pattern.  Then I could not get the applique to look normal so I had to call in help from mom.  I had a puckered up mess and let's face it...I don't have any patience so I quit.  I should probably try to find more patience but sometimes it's just not that easy. 

I think I'll be able to finish the quilting on the dinosaur quilt tomorrow.  Hopefully I won't have any more problems with this quilt.  I know my son is super excited for me to get it finished.  That makes it worth it. 

After I finish the dinosaur quilt I only have about 8 more quilt tops to finish...yikes!  I'm not sure how I got so backed up.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Why My Mom is My Hero

I would like to take a moment to wish all the Veterans, past and present, a belated Happy Veteran's Day.  I know I'm a day late but I spent yesterday with my Veteran who was enjoying his day off.  I am forever grateful to my husband for his service and dedication to this country.  My father and uncle were both B-52 pilots in the Air Force.  I'm also very proud of both of them.

I know this a blog primarily about quilting but I wanted to take a moment and tell you all about a wonderful woman, my mother.  Six months ago her life was forever changed.  On May 19th, her husband suffered a massive stroke.  Gene, my step father, was severely impacted by the stroke.  He was unable to speak or move his right side.  I drove to Missouri on May 20th so I could be there with Gene and my mother.  It was the worst rained for 11 of the 12 hours while I was driving.  I cried most of the way.  I remember seeing him for the first time and it broke my heart.  I could see the despair in his eyes when he would wake up.  Those moments didn't last long.  He slept for 7 days after the stroke.  I stayed with my mother for almost a month following the stroke.  Gene was facing the battle of his life.

He managed to fight everyday to get better.  He eventually went to the rehab facility at the hospital.  After almost 3 months in the hospital and rehab it was time for Gene to go home.  His right side was still immobile and his speech was very limited.  Mom's battle was about to begin.  She was faced with being his 24/7 caregiver.  I know she must have been terrified at the thought but she loves him.  She will do whatever it takes to get him better. 

My mom dislikes cooking.  She now cooks every meal every day.  My mom doesn't enjoy cleaning.  She now does all the laundry and cleaning on her own.  Gene can no longer help with any of these daily tasks.  He is unable.  She is able.  And she does.  She takes care of him day after day night after night.  She does this because she loves him with all heart.  She has remained positive and strong for him.  She makes him smile.  She makes sure he knows how important therapy is.  She reminds him everyday how much stronger he is getting.  She is his rock. 

It still breaks my heart to think about what used to be.  Gene is such a special person.   He's a talented photographer.  He's a wonderful mechanic.   He's funny and loving.  Caring and giving.  A wonderful husband and a terrific grandfather.  His life has been forever changed.  He's fighting everyday to get his life back.  He relies on my mom to help him and she does.  I cannot imagine what life must be like for both of them.  I live too far away to help. I wish I was closer.  But I'm not.  My mother's strength and courage are inspiring to me.  I am so proud of her.  She would do anything for Gene.  My mom isn't famous.  She isn't a movie star.  She isn't the CEO of a fortune 500 company.  She is strong.  She is courageous.  She is my hero.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My Rectangle Tango Quilt is Complete!

It's finally finished!  My Rectangle Tango Quilt is all done and ready to snuggle under.  This is a pattern that I designed for a quilt competition that I did not win. {insert sad face here}  So I guess it's my quilt contest reject but I LOVE it!  It's fantastically bright and beautiful!

Rectangle Tango
I used one Mango Margarita Hoffman Bali Pop and Gardenia {a Hoffman Batik} for the top.  The quilt measures approximately 60" x 72" the perfect size for snuggling. 

I just love it!
I quilted this on Roscoe {my Gammill} all freehand.  It's not fancy quilting but I really like how it looks.

The colors show up better in this close up!

One more look...

Although I didn't win any awards for my design, I am very happy with my creation!  My dad loves this one and he keeps trying to steal it.  I guess I might have to make one.

I hope you all enjoyed getting to see my favorite quilt.


Fresh Poppy Design

I'm linking this post to Quit Story.  Make sure you check it out.  I've also linked to Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hand Stitching Binding to a Quilt

I've finally finished my favorite quilt ever!  I don't have pictures of the whole quilt just yet.  We had lots of rain today and indoor pictures never turn out because our house has terrible lighting.  So, you're going to have to wait one more day to see the whole quilt.  Hopefully the sun will be out tomorrow!

But before we get to that, I have to tell you all the funniest story ever.  We have a 15 year old daughter and an 8 year old son.  Last night at the dinner table the following conversation happened...

Hannah: Guess what I get to learn tomorrow.  Guess what?  Guess what?  {She was very excited}
Jake:  What?  How to be a moron?  {He just blurted it out with no hesitation}

My husband and I busted out laughing.  A few minutes earlier Hannah was trying to explain to him what an oxymoron is.  I don't think he even understood why it was so funny.  Which made it even funnier!  This kid is a riot.  You just never know what he's going to say next.  And by the way, Hannah was going to learn the shuffle. 

I want to show you all how I hand stitched the binding to the front of the quilt.  Don't forget to check out my blog posts on how to join the binding strips and how to attach the binding to the quilt.

The pictures were a little tricky so I hope you can see everything.

I'm going through the quilt and picking up about 1/4" of fabric on the needle
I immediately go through about 1/4" of the binding.

You can see the needle went through 1/4" of green (quilt) then 1/4" of purple (binding) fabric
If you look closely at the picture you can see there is no gap between the green and purple fabric.  That's the key to hiding the stitch.  The thread would show if there was a gap.  That's all there is to it.  I kept going until I was all the way around the quilt.  This would be much easier to demonstrate in a video.  I just might recruit my daughter to help me do that.  It's a very easy stitch and goes pretty fast. 

Quilt Top Mitered Corner

 Quilt Back Mitered Corner

How about a sneak peak of the front...

One More

You'll probably be sick of this quilt before you ever see the whole thing.  But I can't help it.  I'm actually very proud of this one.

Do you have a different way to hand stitch the binding?  I love to learn new methods...

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