Monday, May 26, 2014

Too Many Quilts Floating in My Head!!

Some days I feel like my brain is going to explode with all the quilts that are floating around inside my head!!  I am so grateful for the internet, the online quilting community and all the amazing quilts that are to be seen on Pinterest and those fabulous quilt blogs.  But, the downside is that there are now more quilts in my head than I can possibly crank out in a reasonably timely basis.

In an attempt to calm down my brain, I made a serious list (and sublists!) of all the quilts I need to finish, all the quilts I have all the supplies for, all the quilts I am still collecting fabrics for, and all the quilts I'd love to do someday.  That list totals 67 at the moment!!  At the rate I'm completing quilts these days, I've got some serious quilting and serious living to do (I certainly don't want to die with a bunch of uncompleted projects or a huge stash of unused fabric!!)!

So, I need to hit the gym and get seated in front of the sewing machine!!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Quilt Photo Shoot at the Umholtz's

My dear friends Elma & Leo were not only kind enough to let me tack up my quilts on their barn to take some photos this evening, but they also helped me (even though they weren't so sure at first about my vision!).

Photographing quilts is not for the faint of heart!  You have to scout out settings, wait for the right time of day so the lighting is perfect (still haven't completely figured that out yet!), haul out your stepladder and climb up on it, reaching as high as you possibly can [which isn't that high when you're only 5' 2"!], pound nails into a barn wall, then hope everything is reasonably level and what you had in mind.

But it's always worth the effort, and it's always so meaningful to spend time with your quilts in a lovely setting.  Elma quickly caught my vision and served as my "photo stylist".  

I love the Umholtz's property....  They are moving into a retirement community next week, and although I'm happy for them, I'm ever so sad for me - I never get tired of soaking in their property as evidenced here and here.

Enjoy a tour of this lovely property through a quilter's perspective!

(These photos make me want to do an outdoor quilt show with my entire collection of quilts....)


Yummy Fabric


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Book Pillow for Ella

This sweet little book pillow was made from the scraps from Ella's quilt.  Directions are in Allison Harris's book Growing Up Modern.  It was such a fun little pillow to stitch!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Hexie Pin Cushion

I wasn't feeling the greatest today, but had enough energy and brain power to make this Pretty By Hand-inspired pin cushion.  (Happiness is being too sick to work but not too sick to stitch hexies!)

It is a bit crazy to stitch such teeny tiny hexies together, but as any hexie addict knows, it's so satisfying!  And, Kristyne is the champion for anything handmade that's tiny!

I used this PDF Hexagon Generator to print off my 1/2" hexagon template onto card stock.  It's a handy site - you can print any size hexagon you wish simply by changing the hexagon size.  Or, you can always purchase precut paper pieces from Paper Pieces.

Stitching the sides was a bit fiddly (not sure how Kristyne managed to do such a perfect job on hers...), but it was worth the effort.  The side band is 1" wide (plus seam allowances).

The linen-looking fabric is a piece of yardage I found in my Great Aunt's attic when we cleaned out her house over 20 years ago.  It looks like it could have been used for interlining in suiting??  It definitely was used in some kind of garment construction based one the shapes that were cut out of it; my guess is that it was used in the garment factory where my Great Aunt worked.  It's a bit heavy, especially for such tiny hexies, but I really like the vintage feel it gives to the cushion.  (This yardage has served a number of purposes for me over the years, including a Christmas tree skirt and a backdrop for photos.  It would also make a great table runner on a long table for an outdoor dinner!)   :)  I'll probably use Essex Linen or Essex Yarn-Dyed Linen in the future for a similar project, but I didn't have any on hand in the right shade.

After stitching everything together, I filled it with ground walnut shells (same thing I used for these pin cushions) using a funnel, then whipstitched the edges together.   (I did however, at Kristyne's suggestion, pick up a 10-lb. bag of walnut shells in the reptile aisle at the pet store for way cheaper to have on hand for future projects.)  I really like the weight and shape the walnut shells provide. 

The yellow buttons are from my collection of vintage buttons I've picked up at the thrift shop over the years.  :)

And, as much as I HATE using anything polyester, I am a Superior Threads "The Bottom Line" thread convert when it comes to English Paper Piecing.  It's strong enough to withstand the abrasive edges of the EPP templates, it doesn't tangle, and it's so fine that my stitches almost disappear into the fabric.

Thanks, Kristyne, for your inspiration!

Ella's Quilt Finish

I hated to see this project come to an end!  It was so enjoyable to work on, and so fun to collaborate with Ella's mom Jenna, a graphic artist and photographer.

I love all the special touches we came up with,

making it oh so personal.

The applique heart came from this little onesie that baby Ella wore home from the hospital.  
How sweet is that?! 

 And, this pillow chronicles the fabrics Ella's mom so carefully selected for the project,

including the specially designed fabric Ella's mom had printed through Spoonflower.

I hated to see this project come to an end!

Ella, I hope this quilt and pillow bring you many years of warmth and comfort!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Thread Catchers

Instead of doing what I was supposed to be doing, I decided to stitch some thread catchers!

This one was inspired by this photo; I loosely followed this tutorial to create my version.  I used fusible interfacing on the outer fabric to give it some shape, then used boning inside the rim so it would hang open nicely.  The boning wasn't the easiest to work with, but I like that it keeps it open.

To anchor my catcher to my sewing machine table, I simply needed something that would sit under my tool caddy on the table.  

I stitched a piece of fabric covered cardboard to to the catcher; it seems to do the trick.

Then, I stitched these simple twin reversible, portable thread catchers.  They were inspired by this pattern.

I interfaced both layers of fabric so they would have enough body to stand up on their own.

They are designed to fold flat for storage or for travel.


Love them, love the fabric!

Let me know if you're interested in a tutorial or the dimensions; I'd be happy to provide that info.

(Just so you know, once I got these stitched and out of my head, I was fully motivated to do what I was supposed to be doing in the first place - altering a strapless junior bridesmaid dress that was so big around the bust that it fell off the poor girl!  After I did my part, the dress fit perfectly, and mom and junior bridesmaid were pleased.  :)  )