Sunday, June 30, 2019

Postage Plus

Last year, I was part of the book tour blog hop for the book Modern Plus Signs by Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs and Paige of Quilted Blooms.  I made two versions of Message in a Bottle for the hop but knew I would use several other patterns from the book.  Postage Plus calls for lots of 2 1/2" squares and I grabbed my drawer of I Spy 2 1/2" squares and started one as my leader and enders project.  And now it's finished!


This was a fantastic project for scrap squares and I'll make it again.  Mine is slightly shorter than the original pattern; I cut out one repeat of solid stripes.   The greens are Kona Emerald and Kona Lime. I used anything and everything that was in the I Spy scrap pile. 

Finishing Postage Plus was my one monthly goal for the motivational link-up with Patty of Elm Street Quilts.  It was also on my list of projects needed for my PhD (Projects Half Done) with Quilting Gail and was #13 on my list of Q2 finish along goals.



This will be a donation quilt.  I have not yet decided where I will start taking kids quilts now that my Project Linus chapter has shut down, but I'll want to gather several before I make a delivery anyway, and this is the first finish since my chapter closed.  I think it just screams "cuddle with me!"


And, since it's Cheryl's pattern, I'll link up with her favorite finish linky party.

I made a dress!

While I know a lot of quilters first learned to sew by making clothing, I was not one of them.  I had a friend in college who figured that since I could make quilts, it would be a cinch to help me make a dress.  Nope.  It was not a good experience for either one of us and since then I avoid making clothing.

Except there was this lovely 2-yard cut of rayon in a pattern called Coral Blush in my Island Batik Ambassadors box that I really wanted to turn into something I could wear.  And then a coworker wore this great dress that had a stretch top and long, flowy skirt.  And I wondered if I could make something similar and use a t-shirt for the top and the rayon for the flowy skirt.  And I made a dress!

I did a google search for making a dress out of a t-shirt and found a few that were what I meant--adding a skirt to an existing t-shirt.  Most were for little girls.  Well, no problem, same concept.  I read several and mostly followed this one for the "Best Dress Ever."  I bought a t-shirt that complimented the Coral Blush fabric and used a strip of Pellon Fusible Featherweight interfacing where I would attach the skirt.  After fusing, I cut off the t-shirt below the interfacing strip.


I followed the tutorials guide for pining pleats and started in the middle, then pinned out to each side.

pleats to the left
I don't have a serger but my machine does have some overlock stitches.  This was my first time using them.  I carefully sewed the pleated skirt fabric to the t-shirt.  Aurifil color 2530 was a great match to my bright pink t-shirt. Then, following the advice of the tutorial, I stitched again adding elastic--I used Dritz 1/4 elastic (not pictured). 

Overlock stitches
Then I just needed to try it on and mark to hem!  I'm not great at keeping a hem straight by this is the kind of loose garment where I figured no one would notice if it's not perfectly straight.  I used Aurifil 2000 for the hem, my favorite neutral thread.


Now, I am not a skinny woman and I'm super chesty so clothes aren't particularly flattering on me.  But I wore my new dress the day I made it to dinner at a friend's house and she was willing to do a photo shoot withe me.  And she handed me the wine to use as a prop!

photo by K Melnik
I just love the multi-colored fabric in the skirt!  This is not my official June challenge to try something new, but there were a lot of new things for me here: clothes, overlock stitches, and sewing with rayon.  For sewing with rayon, tips I read online included using a brand-new needle and pinning a lot. 

photo by K Melnik
 Isn't it pretty?! If I ever do it again, I'm going try to add pockets!


Friday, June 28, 2019

Doggone Cute

Back in August of 2017, Ann of Brown Paws Quilting was Queen of Bee Inspired and picked the Doggone Cute block by Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts.  Ann asked us to pick a dog who is important to us and choose the doggone cute block closest to that dog.  I made a block representing my dog, Ivy.  I liked it so much that I made a second identical block to keep, planning to make more dogs and put them all together.


Now, nearly two years later, it's finally done!  I made three other dogs shortly after making the Ivy block and had always planned to make at least two more.  But since I hadn't made the other dogs yet, I decided finished was better than bigger and put it together.  These are the large size blocks and each finishes at 12 x 18, so together they make a perfectly acceptable size for a small child. 


And here's Ivy with the finished quilt!  I think she approves.  I picked the color palette of yellow, orange, and red tones so it would be gender neutral--my Project Linus chapter frequently needs quilts that aren't too girly and I try to keep that in mind when I'm making something that I know will go to them. The binding is a mottled fabric with shades of yellow, orange, and rust that fit the colors.  The original block was orange because Ivy is kind of orange.  See the likeness?


The timing of finishing my Doggone Cute was actually great, because Ann recently submitted her finished dog quilt to the Albuquerque Fiber Arts Fiesta in the group category.  And she won second place!



photo and quilt by Ann of Brown Paws Quilting
I took Doggone Cute to my local Project Linus chapter at our June meeting.  It was bittersweet because it was our last meeting; my local chapter is closing.  Doggone Cute is my last finish to be donated to Project Linus.  I've been a regular member since 2015 and by my records have donated 63 quilts.  I'll continue to make and donate quilts for kids who need a quilty smile, probably directly to one of the dozens of organizations my Project Linus chapter supported.

An unsuccessful attempt at getting Ivy to pose with the quilt
This had been a UFO for almost two years, so it's fitting to my project for the UFO & WIP challenge hosted by Julie of The Crafty Quilter.  I'll also link with Tish of Tish in Wonderland for her next UFO party.  Doggone Cute is on my list of projects needed for my PhD (Projects Half Done) with Quilting Gail and was #11 on my list of Q2 finish along goals.




Thursday, June 20, 2019

Quilt Repair and Throwback Thursday

My dad alternates two different quilts on his bed.  One is the Carolina Dancing quilt I made a few years ago from Carole's Scrap Dance Tango quilt along.  The other was made at an unknown date by his mother, my grandmother Mildred, now deceased.


When I stayed with Dad for 2 weeks in February, my quilt was on the bed but he got down Grandmother's quilt at one point to show me a few areas that needed mending.  I was able to fix the areas without problem, but I noticed that the binding was in really bad shape and told him I thought it needed to be replaced.

fraying binding
Then came the fun part (sarcasm)--ripping out the original binding.  I was originally considering just cutting off the original binding and adding the new one, but Carole of From My Carolina Home, who does some amazing painstaking quilt repairs, convinced me that I was better off ripping it out.

pile of binding once it was all removed

It took multiple movies and questionable TV on Netflix to get remove the binding.  You can see how torn it was in parts.


In some areas, you could see how faded the fabrics had gotten by contrast with the fabric hidden away in the binding.

Can you see the difference in the faded and none-faded fabrics?














We agreed that my sister-in-law Heather, who is an interior designer and has the best color sense of all of us, pick out a solid binding.  I told her my preferred brand of solids and let her loose.  I had been thinking a dark yellow, something dark enough that it was clear we didn't try to match the original, but still with the same feel.  Heather came back with two choices--Kona Regatta (a medium-to-dark blue) or Kona Curry, a dark yellow.  I ordered both before my dad arrived in North Carolina for his annual visit.  He drives across country every year, so he was able to bring the full-sized quilt with him.  Heather's first choice was the blue but dad and I both liked the yellow better, so we used Kona Curry.


I just barely finished it before Dad left to drive back to Oregon.  He wasn't in a hurry to take it with him, but I didn't want to store it for a year! We took photos in the front yard in a hurry before heading to breakfast at Happy's Grill, where we took pictures of the finished tea cozy


So what's with the Throwback Thursday reference in the title?  I found a picture of me as a baby with this same quilt as the backdrop!!!  This is circa 1978:

I was thrilled to be able to repair a quilt of my grandmother's, especially knowing it was made before I was born.  With a new binding, it should have a good bit of use out of it.  I can only guess that Grandma had the same philosophy of quilts that I do--they are meant to be used!



Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Selfish Sewing

I had a free day to sew recently and though I had several projects to work on, I really wanted to make myself some pillowcases. My husband sleeps with two pillows so I always give him the ones that match the sheets and then I use an odd one.  I've made fun pillowcases for my son and my niece but do not have any for me.


My mom gave me a gift certificate to Bobbi Lou's Fabric Factory for Christmas and I used part of it to pick out fabrics especially for a pillowcase.  I picked out this fabulous celestial polar bear print, it's Polar by Michael Miller Fabrics.  The accent fabric is also from Bobbi Lou's, also chosen especially to become part of a pillowcase.  It's Happy Moons from Stargazer by Art Gallery Fabrics.


I had enough Happy Moons to make a second accent band.  I had another moon fabric in my stash, a Maureen Cracknell fabric from her Nightfall line that I've saving for just the right project.  This felt like it.


And then I had enough of Maureen's moons to use as an accent band and I paired it with another Maureen Cracknell fabric, this one a fairy print from the Flower Child line.


I like the Roll It Up instructions from the Million Pillowcase Challenge.  Dreaming will be sweet now!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Tea Cozy

My dad is a big tea drinker.  He makes himself a pot of tea every morning.  And for as long as I can remember, he's had the same tea cozy.  It's really not in great shape and last year when he visited, he brought it with him and asked me to make him a new one.  I was able to trace the size and shape of the one he has and used that to make a template.


The embroidery pattern is Moonlight Pine by Cozyblue Handmade.  It's on both the front and the back.  I really, really love this pattern and the second I saw it, I knew it was perfect for my dad.  Who of course immediately set to identifying what type of pine it is. 


I used a Bosal double-sided fusible and really like the heft it gives as well as how well it holds its shape.  Dad is thrilled!  Here we are at our local diner, Happy's Grill, for breakfast the morning he left to drive back to Oregon.  Happy's is my Cheers--everyone knows us and there are a lot of regulars! (Not sure why it looks empty in this picture!)

Ironically, he's drinking coffee
The tea cozy is on my list of projects needed for my PhD (Projects Half Done) with Quilting Gail and was #1 on my list of Q2 finish along goals.



Friday, June 14, 2019

Island Batik Try a Technique

The June challenge for the Island Batik ambassadors is "Try a Technique."  I like to try different quilting techniques and despite making an effort to try different things, I still have a loooong list of things I'd like to try! Reverse Applique made it to the top of the list and I decided to make it a two-fer and try a flange binding.

Materials used in this project were generously provided to me by Island Batik, Aurifil, and Hobbs.


Once I decided on reverse applique, I needed a subject.  I've been making a series of small quilts to hang on the front door.  I've done most of the major holidays but I wanted something seasonal that isn't holiday specific.  With spring comes Mother's Day and that gave me my inspiration: Gerbera Daisies, also called Gerber Daisies.

Gerbera Daisies on our front door

Our Mother's Day tradition is that instead of buying me cut flowers, Husband takes Fire Monkey to Lowe's and they pick out a Gerbera Daisy and we plant it in front of the house. I love all the bright colors of Gerberas, which makes it the perfect flower for Island Batik fabrics!




After I chose daisies as my subject, I needed a drawing.  I attempted to draw a daisy myself.  It was *terrible.*  Have I mentioned that I am terrible at drawing?  Really.  My high school friends wouldn't play Pictionary with me.  So then I went through my books of iron-on transfer designs.  These are great for tracing!  I found a great picture in a book with a really dated cover:


I found a great picture of three daisies.  I photocopied it and played with the size and I added an extra petal to take the place of the stem.  It may look like my daisies are all alike, but there are actually three different daisies that I used as templates.


I used a video tutorial by Margaret Willingham of Eye of the Beholder Designs as my basic instructions.  Essentially, in reverse applique you are cutting the shapes out of what you would normally consider the background fabric.  So you cut the top layer and the bottom layer shows through. I used Heat 'n Bond Lite as my fusible.


The background fabric is Bluebird, the sashing is Navy and the setting squares and flange in the binding is Iris, all from the Island Batik basics collection.  For the flowers, I used a combination of scraps from other projects and the stash builder strips; I picked an assortment of bright colors that could be Gerbera Daisies. 


First I quilted straight lines in the sashing to stabilize the quilt using Auriful 50 weight in color 2780, Dark Delft Blue.  Then I outlined the petals in color 1128 (can't find a name), also 50 weight.  The thread blends beautifully with the Island Batik bluebird, which is good because that means the Quilt Police can't see my stitches☺


Back in January, I visited Quilt Patch Fabrics for local quilt shop day and bought three pink Island Batik fabrics for my March challenge, Oklahoma Dogwood.  Well, I didn't use one of the fabrics in that project because next to all the pinks, it looked too lavender.  So I used it for the back of this project.  I only bought 1/2 a yard so I used a fantastic bird print that was in one of my Stash Builder rolls to make the back big enough.  For the flange binding, I followed a tutorial by fellow Ambassador Sandra of mmmquilts.  Her tutorial is particularly great because it is for a binding of 2 1/4" wide, my preferred width. 

I used Hobbs Thermore for the batting.  It's great for small projects!  This measures 21" square.

Since it's Friday and I finished today,  I am going to link up (for the first time!) with Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday, hosted today by Kathleen of Kathleen McMusing.  My June project was #6 on  on my list of Q2 finish along goals.


I really love all the colorful daisies!  And the flange binding is great for a pop of color; I will definitely do that again.  Thanks, Island Batik, for letting me try something new!


Monday, June 3, 2019

I Spy for a little brother

I have a very close-knit group of friends my college days, though we don't get to see each other very often.  One of those friends, Devin, now lives in Australia and had his second child last year.  I love I Spy quilts and I had just done an I Spy swap with Val of Val's Quilting Studio at the time I learned of the expected baby.  So I picked out my favorites from the swap and went to town!


Shepherd "Sheppie" joins older sister Miren.  I made Miren a quilt when she was born and intentionally matched Sheppie's quilt to big sister's.  Miren's quilt pre-dates the blog but I did find a photo:


Miren's quilt used 5" I Spy squares and Kona Peach.  Sheppie's quilt has 4" I Spy squares and Kona Parakeet. This is the first time I've done intentionally matching sibling quilts and I like how they look and feel like they are in the same family. Like they belong together!

close-up of some I Spy fun
The back is meant to have meaning and connections for Daddy Devin.  The main fabric is a smiley face print.  A smiley face is the unofficial trademark of Devin's college roommate and best friend Josh, also one of the close-knit group I mentioned.  (And I noticed there is a smiley face in Miren's quilt, so they will kinda match!)  I didn't have quite enough, so I pieced in a leftover piece of the backing from the baby quilt of Josh's second child--Rainbow Elephants that you can see here.  Devin might not get the connection of the backing scrap but I know he'll get that the smiley faces are for Josh.  With Devin being about as far as one can be, it's good to have small things to make us feel connected.


I've actually had this done except for the label and about 20" of binding since October!  But Devin isn't great with checking his email and he did have a newborn at home.  I'm glad to finally be able to check it off the list and send it on its way!  "Devin's Baby Quilt" was on my list of projects needed for my PhD (Projects Half Done) with Quilting Gail and was #2 on my list of Q2 finish along goals.