American as Apple Pie Quilt top

This quilt has been bouncing around in my head for at least a year.  It changed and morphed itself into this design quite by accident.

Initially, I had more of a 'pie' look in mind for the quilt.  A pie quilt, one with blocks on point, lattice sashing, prairie points around the boarder and a scalloped edge.

 That idea changed around as I started laying the blocks out on my design floor.  The more I mixed them around the more I liked this layout.  And so this quilt was born.

Hopefully a pattern will follow shortly...
To be Continued.


New Wall Art

I have been doing a bit of hand work lately.  Many of the pieces I have shared with you.  This piece I believe I shared part of it a while back.  It's the Quilt, Sew, Live, Breathe sewing machine cover from Generation Q Magazine.

Well it turns out I decided not to make it into a sewing machine cover and I turned it into a piece of wall art. Here is my finished version.  I chose not to do the entire picture in black and red like the original pattern but added a few of my own choices.

After I pressed, starched and trimmed it I played with lots of different color combinations.  In the end I settled for mostly the black, red and white.  I did mix it up a little bit throwing in a tiny piece of blue, pink, yellow and green to complement my stitches.

I picked up an 12 X 16" canvas at Joann Fabrics one day when I was out running errands, just incase.  Well it turned out that it was the perfect size for my new embroidery project.

Once my red and black border was in place I simply stapled the completed project to the canvas!  Just that easy.  Okay, not quite that easy.  I did have to do some calculations here and there.  The finished embroidery project measures 1.5 inches larger than the canvas.  So for all you math impaired that is 13.5 x 17.5".  I also temporarily taped the project to the canvas to make sure that it was centered the way I liked it.  I'll admit that the manual staple gun has never been my best friend so I did have to beat several of the staples into submission to get them into the frame.

Now comes the really hard part.. deciding where to hang it.


Showing Off

Today I want to show you two of the cutest kids EVER! (just a little biased)  My niece and nephew modeling a few of my sewing projects.
First off are the Christmas projects you may remember.. The toddler apron and chef's hat.

I am told his creations are as cute as he is.

Only made cuter when you actually see a baby in it.. AWE...

 the ever adoriable Cordelia showing it off.

There is no feeling greater, no love expressed more fully, no joy more rapturous then when you see your creations being used and enjoyed.


Simply Woven - {finish}

I spent Friday finishing up this small quilt.

 Using up a stack of 2.5 in strips that may have once come as a jelly roll.  As mentioned in my previous posts I used Simply Woven quilt pattern by Jessica Kelly of sewcraftyjess.com for Moda.  I found her directions superb, I really enjoyed watching the emerging pattern. I ended up making 16 block for this quilt.  However, due to a small miscalculation I could only use 12 on the front and 3 on the back.  Somehow I mixed up the placement of one of the stripes causing the entire block to not match up with the other 15.  One of the downfalls of quilting past your bedtime.

I used an all over quilted swirl on this quilt, trying to balance out the square edges and sharp corners with a few curves and waves.

The back I pieced from a few pieces I had leftover from another quilt + the three blocks I couldn't use on the front. The misfit block that wouldn't work anywhere will probably be made into a journal cover.  Only time will tell. This quilt is going up in the basket of quilts to be gifted.  More than likely it will find a home with one of the 4 teachers we have this year who are becoming first time parents.

E was my big helper for this photo shoot. 
 She really got into it.  Posing in all sorts of funny positions and faces.
  Even she enjoyed this fun quilt.


Sewing Tools--{Pins}

Imagine that you are planning a romantic picnic. (Okay, first imagine you have no children, then imagine the picnic. :) You have packed your picnic basket full of goodies.  Gotten together a blanket, some wine and a nice relaxing playlist for your MP3.  Everything you will need for a beautiful picnic together in the park.  You arrive at the picnic location the sky is a beautiful shade of pale blue, the sun is bright and warm, the perfect day for a picnic.  As you unpack and set up your amazing spread, you complement yourself on your fantastic job, you really are quite the culinary genius. You suddenly realize you have no utensils. What do you do?  Use your hand?  Improvise with sticks? Run down to 7/11 and pick up some plastic wear.

Tools are something we take for granted until suddenly we need them.  What then?  The same can be said for having a tool and then getting a "new and improved" version.  How did we ever survive without the rotary cutter?   Use scissors! Well, last week I ran into just such a circumstance, minus the romantic picnic.

I have lots of quilting supplies.  I have tons of rulers, needles, scissors, measuring tapes and pins.  Pins!  I go through them like mad.  I sew with them in my fabric.  I know that is supposed to be dangerous, bad for your machine and all.  It is how I learned to sew.  Since I started sewing with garments, I pin.  And pin and pin.

When we moved here from El Paso, TX I thought I had brought with me all of the quilting tools I needed, the rest I put in storage. (silly me.)  What I found I needed more of was pins.  Who knows where they all go?  Kind oflike socks that way.  I purchased pins at the local Wal-mart and have been using the same batch ever since.  Several years ago I was at Tuesday Morning when I found a box of glass headed pins.  There were 200 of them that came in a cute little tin for 3$.  I brought them home and set them aside for when I should need them.  And promptly forgot about them.

In my spring cleaning, fabric organizing, re-arranging mood I stumbled upon them last week and decided to open the box.  My pins were getting low and I had a few crooked pins that needed tossed.  I usually throw the bent ones out immediately, but somehow I always manage to find one more bent pin in my pin cushion.

I was working on the Simply Woven quilt pattern, which requires pinning to keep the rows and columns in alignment. I reached for a pin and picked up one of the 'new' pins I had just pulled out.  The first thing I noticed was how much smaller the pin was than the older pins.  Not the length, but the width or diameter.  As I slid the pin into the fabric I noticed that these pins were much sharper than the ones I had been using.  WoW! What a difference.  I imagine that pins like needles come in sharps and ball points.  I have no clue what the original pins were classified as but now they are definitely 'dulls'.  I suppose, like needles pins also loose their sharp point.  This is something I have never considered before.  As quilters, sewers or crafters how often do you need to replace your pins?  Ever?  Do pins go Bad? Sounds like a bad reality series,.."When good pins go bad!"

The new pins also stayed put when I used them.  With the older pins I often have pins that will slide out of one or both sides, scattering themselves randomly all over the sewing room.  Is this a sign that the pins need replaced? or that the wrong pin is being used?  I don't know but I believe as another tool in my proverbial tool belt, I need to be doing an investigation.


Bits and Pieces

Last week was a flurry of activity.  It appeared to me as though I wasn't getting much sewing done. I grabbed projects here and there, worked on what I could throughout out the week.  When I looked at the bits and pieces of my work individually it didn't seems as though much was getting accomplished.  Some weeks that's how it goes.

The RBHS Varsity Soccer Jackets consumed the majority of my time.  It wasn't a tough project, not necessarily easy and not particularly fun.  It was just, well time consuming. 22 Men's Soccer Jackets in which I heat fused pre-embroidered letters, then machine stitched the letters in place.
Seriously, What was I thinking?
The heap of Jackets my son brought me was, to say the least, daunting.  When I agreed to to the project I anticipated 30 minutes per jacket, and I wasn't far off.  Roughly 11 hours of sewing letters on gets mighty repetitive, translation....boring.  But they are all finished and the boys were able to wear them all as a team on Friday nights game.  It is really a pleasure to see them all so happy.  The fact that they were all so thankful made the joy that much greater.
pre-embroidered Jackets
stack of completed Jackets

I broke up the monotony of "Great Soccer Jacket Project" with sewing up a couple of blocks for a baby quilt.   I am using a pattern by  Jessica Kelly of Sewcraftyjess.blogspot.com called Simply Woven.
I have finished about 7 blocks. Okay 10 according to the picture below.

 I am shooting for 15 blocks to make a quilt 48" X 48".  My initial plan was to use up the pink, blue and purple jelly roll strips I purchased eons ago.  (Still working on cleaning out)  I wanted to make each strip in the simply woven one of the colors.  After my initial 4 blocks I decided the blocks needed a little mixing.  I interchanged many of the colors to try to get a more random pattern. I'll let you know if it works.

I also spent quite a bit of time last week doing a little more hand embroider.  I found this cute pattern... somewhere.  I believe it was in Generation Q Magazines Winter issue.  It is intended to be the center focal point of a sewing machine cover.  I haven't decided what to do with it yet.  I am just enjoying the slow pace of hand stitching.

And last but not least I finally stitched on the binding for This Animal Jungle quilt I made and quilted last March.  A year ago.  eek!

Initially it didn't feel like last week accomplished much.  When I list them all here and I begin to see them all add up and it feels good to know that so much was finished up, even if it was just in bits and pieces.


Little Purses

Recently I posted about some hand embroidery that I had been working on.  Well, I am happy to report that the Little Purses projects that I have been embroidering for nearly 2 weeks have all been finished.

I pulled the pattern from Best of Stitch Bags to Sew and am very happy with the results.  I made up 5 little purses using this pattern.  The first two I stitched up I used the Rainbow embroidery pattern that was included with the book.

The second two I stitched up I got my embroidery groove on and went out on my own!  Crazy. I gave each little purse their own cute personalized lining.

 I made the fifth purse out of some fabric I had on hand, that was already embroidered.  I made the fifth purse simple and basic.  My 'test' pattern.   I didn't want to mess up and ruin the little purses that I spent so much time embroidering.  Glue and I, as I may have mentioned, tend to get ourselves in some sticky situations.  (oh. come on.  It was screaming for a pun)

The instructions in the book are clear and concise.  The pictures are BEAUTIFUL!  I ordered the purse frames and Gutermann fabric glue from an easy.com seller While Baby Naps.  She was very easy to work with and had all of my order here in less than a week.  Suburb service.  All in all it was a wonderfully portable project, except for the glue.  Now these beauties are set aside for some special people who will undoubtedly find many, many uses for these cute little purses.