Friday, May 29, 2015

it's all about the scraps!

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
Late last night I finished knitting another rag rug. (Tutorial here.)
So many scraps were used in this project, specifically selvages (I love those little numbers peeking out of the middle!) and strings that are too narrow to hold a seam allowance. I used strips between 1/2" to 7/8" wide. Lots of them!
This rug is quite bulky, because I knit 3 strands together on size 35 needles! I may have been overzealous in my scrap usage, but my bowl of scraps is nearly empty now. So, it's all good!! The rug measures 27" x 22". Now, to decide if I will use it in my bathroom or my kitchen....
Yesterday afternoon I skyped with a friend for a little hand applique lesson. I made my first squircle block from Carolyn Friedlander's book Savor Each Stitch. I absolutely loved the process AND the finished result. While I want to start a new project, and while a whole quilt of these squircles (on a patchwork background) would be lovely.....
I decided that I needed to make it into a pin cushion. You know, because I was running low on those. Ha!!!!
Ok, so we all know that isn't true! (By the way, isn't that the happiest photo?!?!?!)

If you have questions about pin cushion construction, please see this post. It's the same technique I use for nearly all my cushions, I just change up the patchwork each time. I believe that this goes without saying, but you can make them any size you want. And definitely, the more the better! :)

How about you? Do you have a finish to share today? If so, please link up! Thanks, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

WIP update

I wish I had more progress to report on my WIP week, but everything always takes longer that it should. (Right?) At least I have gained some focus.....I'll take it!
I hand quilted about 10 rectangles with perle cotton randomly in the background of this piece, then I started to machine quilt it with my free motion foot. I'm working on forgiving myself for a few wavy lines. (Yes, I'm tightly wound! I so wish I could change that.) Starting is always the hardest part! It's getting much easier as I go.
The mix of textures is super fun! I've been using my hera marker to mark each section, then I have been filling in the sections free hand (mostly) as I go. I have no big master plan, I'm just focusing on one section at a time, building upon the last one. With each section I get a little less nervous that I'm going to mess it up completely.
I do love challenging myself to try new things. This has been a fun experiment! I decided to quilt the inside pieces at the end, when I'm all warmed up. :)
Over the past few weeks (since quilt market) I've been spending a lot of time on the couch working on hand quilting. It's been a good distraction while trying to recover from this nasty cold. I've enjoyed hand quilting much more than I thought I ever would. What a nice surprise! 
Even the back is looking pretty!
This quilt has been scrunched and bunched so much, it should be properly broken in when I get finished. I only have 49 stars left to hand quilt! (And then the borders, of course.) I thought this would be a good winter project, but it turns out to be a pretty good spring project instead. And I've decided that I'm going to actually USE this quilt. All. The. Time. :)

Up next, I think I'm going to work on my orange quilt!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

WIP week

Well, my kids have exactly one week of school left. I am feeling the pressure to get something, anything, done. I've got so many WIPs (works in progress) that I find myself wasting all kinds of time trying to figure out what to work on rather than working on anything at all. It's quite frustrating, let me tell you! (Please tell me that I'm not the only one who experiences this?!?!)
In an effort to combat this annoying phenomenon, I'm trying an experiment this week. I am going to pick one WIP per day and see how much I can get done in that 24 hour time period. If I can't decide what to work on that day, I'll pick a slip of paper out of a hat. I hope it doesn't come to that! :)
Today's project is to work on my doe quilt. I basted it already (hurray for progress!) and I plan to quilt it a la Carolyn Friedlander. (If you are looking for a basting tutorial, I have one here.)
I had the chance to pick Carolyn's brain about how she quilts her quilts while I was at market. She said that she adds the hand quilting first, then she adds the free-form grid quilting afterwards. I was surprised by the order, but she explained that the hand quilting knots are easier to hide before the machine quilting is added. She also explained that the hand stitching always rises to the top. Makes sense! She encouraged me to think of the quilt as a blank canvas and have fun with it. So, that's what I'm going to do! I'll let you know how it goes!

What are you working on today? Anything fun? If you'd like to join me as I work on my WIPs this week, I'd love to have you join me!

Friday, May 22, 2015

catching up on bee blocks

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

This week I caught up on my bee block commitments. While it's not a big finish, it still feels pretty darn good! I know I said this before, but seriously, how do the months fly by so fast?!?!
These X and plus blocks are for Doris. She has a great tutorial here for making a 15" finished block. I didn't rush the fabric selection, so making the block took me awhile. I think that it paid off in the end...I'm quite happy with how it turned out! Selecting fabric with significant contrast is crucial.
Since I was/am so late, I decided to make another one...for penance sake. :) This one came together much more quickly than the first. I can see why these blocks are so popular...they are so fun to make! I am very relieved, though, that I don't feel the need to make a whole quilt of them. You know?
This block is for Michelle, who is making a friendship quilt. She gave us free reign to make any block that we wanted to...something that is special to us. I'm still crushing on pineapple blocks (and they lend themselves to scrappy so well) so it was an easy choice for me. I used my pineapple block tutorial, which you can find here. This was very fun to make, too! This block will finish at 12" square.

So, that's all I've got for this week! I hope you had a successful week finishing something...anything! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday! For those of you in the States, have a safe and great Memorial Day weekend!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

parachute quilts

The parachute quilt has been finished for quite awhile now...but I wasn't sure if I was going to write a pattern for it or what to do with it. Turns out that Robert Kaufman is offering it as a free pattern on their website! It is made from a variety of strips from 5 different Kona Roll ups, but you could easily use solids from your stash. It was really fun to make!
The inspiration for this quilt came to me one evening while I was watching a TV show with my husband. (Over 3 years ago!) I was inspired by the stripes on a man's button down shirt. Random, right? I quickly sketched the idea on the front of an envelope and it floated around in a stack of paper for years. Eventually, it got taped into my sketchbook. (I'm still a little surprised by that!) Not all ideas get translated into fabric...but it's pretty neat to see what happens when they do!
This is the first quilt that I ever sent to a long arm quilter. It was a struggle for me to give up control (a common theme in my life) but I am so pleased that I overcame that mental block. Steffani (from Country Fabrics in Brainerd) did an amazing job on the quilting. It makes the quilt! And it saved me a week and a half of quilt wrestling. :)
For the backing, I used an old (but oh-so-good) Anna Maria Horner fabric. I love the bold floral on the back. It's a perfect match! I've been using this quilt as my 3rd layer on my bed these past few weeks. It's so cozy!
I made a smaller version, too! This is the baby parachute quilt, which uses the same proportions, but skinny strips, which are cut 1 1/2" wide. The palettes were picked by Elizabeth Hartman and Rita Hodge. I love how the colors all work together. It's easy, fun and colorful....just like I like it! This one is available as a free pattern as well.

It's so fun to be able to share these, at last!

Monday, May 18, 2015

happy to be home

I'm home from quilt market and I get to stay put for a few weeks. I'm so thankful! It's been a crazy few months and I'm completely beat. My main objectives for the next several days are to rest and clean...because that makes sense, right?!?
My craft room is looking quite "worked in" and I need to clean it up before my husband evicts all my stuff. He's a patient man, but even he has his limits! I plan to post some after photos if/when I see this cleaning project through. It might not look THAT bad, but that's the beauty of photography vs. real life. Ha!
I got a copy of Sew Organized for the Busy Girl by Heidi Staples at market over the weekend. I LOVE the cover....I would have bought the book just for that! I started reading through it this morning and I have a feeling that it is going to help spur on my craft room cleaning. Hurray for perfect timing! It was great to meet Heidi, too. She's super sweet!
I came down with a nasty cold, so I pulled out some old hand work projects in an effort to stay put on the couch for a few hours. I can't relax unless my hands are busy, so I'll be splitting my time between knitting a giant rag rug (tutorial here) and...
hopefully I'll get some hand quilting done on this baby, too! This is the one time that it's handy to have a lot of works in progress. :) All in all, not a bad way to spend a blustery Monday!
 
For all of you who were asking questions about pin cushion construction in the last post, I can certainly do a post about it at some point soon. Stay tuned!
 
Happy Monday to YOU!

Friday, May 15, 2015

good neighbors scrap happy purse

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
Quilt market is in Minneapolis this weekend, and since it's so close to home, it was an easy decision to attend. I needed a new bag, of course, so I sewed up a scrap happy purse using my good neighbors fabric! (Thanks for the wonderful suggestion, Susan Holman!) At first I thought it was going to be difficult to chop up the fabric, but actually, it was pretty fun! Hurray for that!
Sewing on the handles is a pain (literally and figuratively), but totally worth it! I sewed these on while I was visiting my sister, which made the task so much better. The pre-made handles are Inazuma 40 cm handles in black. I buy them at my local quilt shop, but I'm sure that you can find them on-line. I like the semi-professional look that the handles give to the purse--they hold up pretty well, too. I carried my last purse 1 1/2 years before the handles cracked. That's pretty good, if you ask me!
It's been awhile since I added to my pin cushion collection. I finished 3 this week--I love them all! The pin cushion on the right was made from the trimmings from making the gusset in my purse. The other two are just scraps that I pieced and quilted. Each of the pin cushions are filled with crushed walnut shells, which are sold at pet stores as lizard litter. (Weird, but it works!)
My bowl is looking pretty happy! They remind me of teeny tiny pillows. No wonder I'm obsessed!

Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

making quilt along plans

I am working on another scrap vortex quilt. You know, because I need two quilts that nearly cover my house completely...one just won't do! Ha!
Actually, I'm planning to make an easy-to-replicate layout, so I can host a scrap vortex quilt along this summer. Wouldn't that be fun? If you'd like to join me, start saving your scraps! The more the better!
I hope that I never tire of scrap quilting. I think it's a gift, in a lot of ways, to love scraps as much as I do. It's so practical and thrifty....it's so satisfying to use it all! The end product is pretty great, too!
Aren't those little ninjas cute??? I'm fairly certain that it's going to be one of my very favorite parts of the quilt!

Monday, May 11, 2015

yellow quilt

I've been thinking of sharing this quilt for awhile now...as humble as it may be. This one been dubbed "yellow quilt" by my kids, and it was finished in either 2001 or 2002. This was my first queen size quilt and it was made back in the day when I tied my quilts. It is made entirely from fabrics from JoAnn's. The quilt is faded and it has a few stains, but despite that (or perhaps because of that?) this quilt is THE favorite at my house! In fact, about a month ago, we played bingo to see who would get to sleep under the quilt for the next several weeks. (We like to do fun and crazy things like that at our house.)
The quilt has two layers of batting inside it, thanks to the suggestion of my husband, so it's nice and toasty! Wrapping up in it feels like a giant hug and I'm pretty sure that it makes one of the best quilt forts in all the land. :) I love seeing how my tastes have changed over the years, but some things still remain the same...I still love a patchwork quilt and I will always love a good gingham!
I love that this quilt is a favorite despite it's imperfections. I strive for perfection in almost everything, but it's reassuring to know that things DO NOT need to be perfect. What a relief!!! This quilt also shows me that I've come a long way in learning the skill of quilting. I love that even though it's been around awhile, it's actually getting better with age. (I can only hope the same for me, as a person!!!)
Why share this now? A lot of times I feel like I want the guarantee that things will be perfect BEFORE I even give it a try. How silly is that? So silly. But that's exactly what happens! I made this quilt before I knew how to miter binding correctly, so the corners are slightly rounded. But do you know what? That's the best that I could do at that time. I like that it didn't stop me from trying...I just did it and I learned to do better the next time around. I wanted to share this with you to encourage you--especially if you are newer to quilting or if you are just beginning in your quilting journey--to keep at it! Most things get easier and better as you practice. You never know what quilt will become a favorite! And, perfection is overrated. :)

Happy Monday to you!

Saturday, May 09, 2015

winners

Thanks to all of you who entered my giveaways this week. That was fun! I HOPE to do more scrap giveaways soon....it's good to keep a constant rotation, right? :)

So....

The winner of the Fig Tree scraps is doodlebugmom.

The winner of the 5 PDF patterns is Frederique.

The winner of Every Last Piece is Aliceart.

Thanks for playing along! Hope you are having a GREAT weekend!

Friday, May 08, 2015

shoo fly pillow and a BIG finish

Welcome to finish it up Friday! Thanks for joining me each week for the link up party...I sure appreciate it!
It's been awhile since I made a pillow....and I love, love, LOVE this one! It's made up of 4 shoo fly blocks, quilted with straight lines 1" apart and it has a lovely red and white polka dot envelope backing. Isn't it so happy? I especially love the text in the one square that says, "make a pillow". That couldn't be more perfect! It finishes at about 18" square.
I have more big news to share...this week I was out in Denver filming a Craftsy class! I'm super excited that I get to cross off a BIG goal from this year's list! It was quite a stretch for me (understatement) and I'm so glad/amazed/surprised that I got through the process without a single cold sore! :) I'll be sharing more about the class, the process and the release date as it gets closer. But for now, I'm so glad the prep and filming is DONE! Woo-hoo!

Last week, fabric strike offs. This week, Craftsy. Next week, I need to NAP!!! (That's no joke!) I'm beyond grateful that I have the love and support of my family and friends, because I certainly couldn't do this without them....they are pretty awesome!

Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Every Last Piece

Lynn Harris wrote a wonderful scrap quilt book called Every Last Piece. I was anxiously awaiting the release of her book, knowing that she loves scraps at least, if not more, than I do. She did a great job on her book...so many quilts (with tiny pieces) that I would like to make!
I'm still working my way through reading the book (I'm taking my time) but I've enjoyed it so far. Lynn shares how she sorts her scraps (always an interesting topic to me!) and the quilt gallery where she shares quilts she has made over the years is very inspiring!
I love Lynn's quilts because they are scrappy, of course, but they are also authentic and timeless. She does beautiful work!

Here are a few of my favorites:


This one has to be at the top of my list. I literally laughed out loud when I read the caption next to the quilt. Lynn admits that if she had read the directions for the quilt beforehand, she probably would have never started the quilt. I love that!

Every Last Piece is published by Interweave and is available on Amazon, of course! If you would like to win a copy of the book, please leave a comment on this post. In your comment, I would like to hear what is the smallest size of scrap you save! (You can see my answer here. Please don't judge! :) )

The giveaway is open to both international and US readers alike. Please, only one comment per person. I plan to pick a winner on Saturday!