Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Caught up with the Twist

I love doing the Scrap Dance Mystery quilt series with Carole of From My Carolina Home.  I waited a while to start the current mystery, Scrap Dance Twist, because I couldn't decide on fabrics.  She stepped up the pace when most of the country went under Stay At Home orders, so I knew I had to get started.  I picked my leftovers of Island Batik's Flea Market collection, given to me in my first ambassador box.

Carole has current released steps 1-5, and I am all caught up!  Step 6 comes out Friday May 1st with the final reveal two weeks later.  I'm excited to see what it will look like!  Getting caught up was my One Monthly Goal with Patty of Elm Street Quilts

April OMG finish link-up is open!

Monday, April 27, 2020

burger and fries

With Fire Monkey now home all the time, we've been finding creative things to do with some of our time.  Felt food has been fun for both of us.  After the breakfast feast we made, it was time to move on to a classic: burger & fries!

I didn't follow a tutorial per say but I used this felt burger & fries as inspiration. First, the burger.  As in the inspiration, I added grill marks, which I think really elevates it. Though when I look at it all alone, it looks a little odd out of context :)

Next, the lettuce.  I liked the look of this lettuce leaf and tried to copy the shape and overall look.

Then, the tomato.  This is the element with the most obvious stitching but I've decided that just doesn't matter.  This is play food!

 The cheese was the easiest.  Just a yellow-orange square!

And finally, the bun.  We used some simple hand embroidery stitches to make the sesame seeds for the top bun only; I didn't think the bottom bun needed it and it felt inauthentic. Hand stitching is not Fire Monkey's favorite part but I really like the added touch.  (His favorite part is still cleaning the machine!  And stitching really fast--we put the pedal on the table and he presses it with his hands, thanks to an awesome tip from Kathleen McMusing.)

check out the sesame seeds!

What good is a burger without fries?  The pouch of fries might be my favorite part!

Felt food has been a fun project for us to work on.  We've moved on to a quilt for his teacher but I'm sure we'll come back to more felt food.  There are a few more foods we'd like to make and I'm far from running out of felt, though we may be limited by food color at some point.

 This burger & fries is my 14th completed project in my quest to complete 52 projects in 2020. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Awesome Ocean

I have been sewing along with  Kathleen of Kathleen McMusing and her Awesome Ocean Sew-Along since December, and I'm so excited that I now have a finished quilt!  The Awesome Ocean pattern is by Elizabeth Hartman.  I've done her patterns before, but always a single pattern never the "habitat" ones--with lots of different animals in them.  This pattern is a challenge but Kathleen's Sew Along was perfectly paced--one animal every two weeks.

I knew from the beginning that I didn't want to use Hartman's layout.  I'm just not that fond of it, plus I don't like the kelp so I didn't make any, and I kinda wanted mine to look different.  Without a plan, I started making 4 of each animal.  I knew this would be too big for one quilt.  I ended up not making the last animal (Salty the Seahorse) because I already had too many blocks.  But I played around with what I did have and came up with a layout I liked.

The Back
As you might guess, I still had quite a few left over.  I contemplated another quilt but decided to put them on the back instead.  I had already earmarked a backing fabric, ABC Menagerie by Abi Hall for Moda, but I only had one yard so I would have needed to add something anyway.  I made a random cut down the middle and inserted the panel ocean animals into it.   I like the extra surprise on the back!

Close up of backing print
I used 2 different layer cakes of Kona solids, Pool Party & Lavender Fields, both of which I've had for several years without cutting into.  This seemed like a great time to use them.  I just randomly selected fabrics for each animal and just hoped I would use all the colors.  I double checked the finished top against my color card and I did!  In addition to the 14 colors of the layer cake,  The backing is Kona Tan, the eyes & noses are Kona Black, the accent in the Mr. Manatee blocks are Kona White, and noses in the Puffy the Puffer Fish blocks are Kona Plum, and the binding is Kona Hibiscus.  Lavender Fields includes: Orchid, Thistle, Lilac, Lavender, Amethyst, Wisteria, Dahlia, Morning Glory, Heliotrope, Crocus, Mulberry, & Tulip.  Pool Party includes: Baby Blue, Robin Egg, Bahama Blue, Azure, Capri, Jamaica, Peacock, Lagoon, Turquoise, Cyan, Oasis, & Mediterranean. So this has 29 different Kona solids!!

I quilted with wavy lines, hoping for an ocean/under water feel.  I space my starts 1" apart.  This is my favorite quilting motif at the moment!

Awesome Ocean is on my list of finished for achieving my PhD (Projects Half Done) with Gail of Quilting Gail.  I have now finished 4 of the needed 12 projects toward my PhD.  This is also my 12th finish of the year-my goal is 52 finished projects in 2020.

I do not know where this quilt will end up.  I originally planned it as the baby quilt for an expecting coworker, but my Teddy Bear's Picnic quilt told me really emphatically that it wanted to the quilt for Baby Michael.  I think I may hang on to this one until the right recipient or occasion appears. 

Thanks, Kathleen, for an Awesome Sew Along!  I don't think I would have had the courage or patience to tackle this pattern without you!

Friday, April 10, 2020

Teddy Bear's Picnic: An Island Batik Challenge

Our April Ambassador Challenge from Island Batik is Borders & Bindings.  Truth be told, I rarely use borders in quilts, and pieced borders are rarer still.  Our document each month includes some inspiration links and for this one, I needed the inspiration.  One of the articles mentioned cornerstones and that was all the inspiration I needed to know exactly what I wanted to do.

I've been wanting to make the super-cute teddy bear pattern William from the book Fat Quarter Baby by It's Sew Emma.  The original pattern had a pieced border around it but if I made that border wider, I could use a 6" block as a cornerstone.  And I had just gotten Patchwork Picnic by Gracey Larson from my local library and in it there is an adorable bear block.  I would combine the two!  I also added some narrow borders in blue to unify the whole quilt.

And so I did, and I absolutely love the results!  I chose the Island Batik collection Sunny Side Up that has a lovely bright assortment of yellows and blues with some fun items in the designs, like strawberries and lady bugs.  I used Island Batik's solid white for the background and added a few fabrics from their foundations collections that are always available, including some of the new cobalt solid for the cornerstone bears.

The teddy bear center came together fairly quickly.  It does call for some half-square triangles and I used my Accuquilt to cut those pieces--I love how it trims the dog-ears and even this non-perfectionist quilter gets perfect units every time!

The bears for the corners were, quite honestly, a lot of work.  There are a LOT of tiny pieces in this block.  But the results are so cute!  I love the bears and they were absolutely worth it for the fun touch they add to the pieced border.

Items used in the quilt were provided to me by Island Batik, Hobbs, Aurifil, Schmetz, and Accuquilt.

I was given a 2-yard cut of one of the prints from the collection and I decided to use it for the back, Large Leaves in Buttercup.  I love this print! In addition to the leaves there are some butterflies and other friends hiding.  My original plan was to use the Large Leaves print to add another border, but once I got it this far I really liked the size.  I asked my friend and fellow Island Batik Ambassador Gail of Quilting Gail what she thought, and both Gail and her husband assured me it was great as it was, and they both agreed on my planned next step: flanged binding. It's so great to have quilting friends who will tell you honestly what a quilt needs!

Large Leaves in Buttercup
But before I could bind I had to get it quilted!  I layered the top with Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 Bleached batting, which was great for a quilt with a white background.  The white is still so crisp!  Then I quilted wavy lines with Aurifil 2120, a lovely bright yellow.  I used my favorite Schmetz microtex chrome needle, 80/20 and I started the lines at 1" apart.  Wavy line quilting is my favorite at the moment, I love the look and texture and it's so easy with my walking foot!

Flange Binding
I did a flanged binding once before, for the "Try a Technique" challenge last year.  Both times, I used a tutorial by Sandra of Mmm! Quilts.  Sandra is also an Island Batik Ambassador.  I love her tutorial because it is for binding cut 2 1/4" wide, which is my preferred width. 

With a name like "Teddy Bear's Picnic" I wanted to take appropriate photos.  My original plan was to take it on our planned camping trip for this weekend--that clearly did not happen.  So off to my son's room for a teddy bear.  I did find one, though teddy bears are a bit rare in our house do his friends are all of a different species.

As I was finishing the piecing, this quilt told me very loudly that it wanted to go to my coworker Laura who was expecting her first child.  I had a different quilt planned for Laura's baby, but the quilt was really quite insistent.  Isn't it funny how quilts sometimes tell you want they want?! Last week Laura had a healthy baby boy so this will be going to Baby Michael.

So that's my adventure in borders and bindings!  I absolutely love the finished quilt and hope it is a happy plaything for Baby Michael for years to come.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Catching Up With the Twist (OMG April)

Carole of From My Carolina Home does a mystery quilt every year, her Scrap Dance series. I found her right as the first Scrap Dance started.  I've missed a few years, but I've followed along on three different years.  I planned to play along this year, too, for her Scrap Dance Twist, but I haven't actually started yet.  She is now picking up the pace (clues every two weeks instead of once a month) so I better get started!

The biggest challenge for me this year was choosing fabrics.  I've decided to use some leftover 10" squares of the Island Batik collection Flea Market from last year.  The 10" squares will cut up beautifully for the sizes needed for this mystery quilt.  I"m going to use a black background.

Getting caught up will be my One Monthly Goal for April in Patty of Elm Street Quilt's linky party.  By my estimation, the next clue comes out April 17th, so being caught up will include completing through that clue. 

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Scrap Everything Blog Hop

Note: Some of my photos are not showing up.  This is a known issue with Blogger and they are working on fixing it.  

Pat from Lemon Tree Snippets is hosting a Scrap Everything blog hop.  The idea being that so many plans are being "scrapped" at the moment.  In terms of scrap quilts, I always have plans!  You know I love my I Spy fabrics and that there are so precious that I use my Accuquilt to the pieces into usable scrap sizes.  I decided it was finally time to do something with my smallest pieces--2" squares.

I paired my I Spy scraps with Kona Flame.  I used a 2" gridded fusible interfacing to get those intersections perfect.  I have no idea what brand it is, it isn't marked, and the store where I bought it is no longer in business.  (RIP MaryJo's Cloth Store!)

 There are 480 squares in this quilt (24 x 20) and half of those are scraps, so this used 240 scraps!  And of course it feels like it didn't make a dent!  :) 

I quilted a straight line cross-hatch going diagonal through the Flame squares.  I initially thought Flame was a red color.  But when it came to pick thread, I was worried because I'm out of red thread. I needn't have worried, the orange was a perfect match!

In January, I joined the Charlotte chapter of the Modern Quilter's Guild.  I was only able to go to two meetings before Covid-19 shut everything down, but that was enough time to learn of the guild's charity project for this year.  Friendship Trays delivers food to elderly or infirm individuals who can't obtain or prepare their own meals (similar to meals on wheels but without an age limit).  Friendship Trays includes delivery to families and it is estimate that at any given time, about 150 children ages 2-5 in the Charlotte metro are among the recipients.  The Guild wants to make each of these children a quilt and a backpack to be delivered in December.  They've asked for quilts roughly 36" x 38", a size chosen so that the back can be a single yard of fabric.   This finishes at 38" x 33" and is my first quilt for the goal.

As intended by the guild project, this is backed with a one yard cut of flannel. I honestly don't remember why or when I bought it, though I'm sure it came from MaryJo's Cloth Store, the same place as the gridded interface.  It's Mischief by Nancy Halvorsen for Benartex.  It's a cute alphabet print, though it really bothers me that "E" is for "Engine."  What kid is going to look at that and think engine?!  Every kid I know would call that a Train, which clearly does not start with "E"!

Like everyone right now, some of our plans have indeed been scrapped.  We've been trying to make the best of it when we can.  For example, last Saturday we were supposed to see our local symphony play Peter & the Wolf.  Instead, I found a youtube performance by another orchestra and we watched that instead--not the same, but we still got to enjoy the music and the story. My college reunion is canceled, but my friends and I did a Zoom call last Saturday and have another planned for tonight--last week there were 12 of us representing 7 states and Australia, plus appearances by spouses and children.  I hope you are able to find alternatives for some of the plans of yours that have been scrapped!

Be sure to check out all the Scrap Everything bloggers for some great scrappy inspiration!

Wed. April 1
Lemon Tree Snippets
Thu. April 2
Quilting Gail
Fri. April 3
Cynthia's Creating Ark
Sat. April 4
The Darling Dogwood

Sun. April 5
Kathy's Kwilts and More
Lemon Tree Snippets

Friday, April 3, 2020

Cowboy Kids' Quilt

Note: Some of my photos are not showing up.  This is a known issue with Blogger and they are working on fixing it. 

Before we started our feast of felt food, my son and I made a few quilts together.  Our most recent was a western/cowboy-themed quilt that will be donated to a local children's hospital.  This has the distinction of being the quilt where we first tried Kathleen's suggestion of moving the sewing machine pedal to the table and having him press it with his hands.  Game Changer!

The quilt is one I cut and kitted to work on at Project Linus meetings, then never got to.  Because all the pieces were cut out, it counted as started and is therefore a UFO and eligible for my PhD (projects half done) with Quilting Gail.

The patter in Watercolor Garden from the Spring 2016 issue of Quilter's World.  The big pieces made it great for sewing with Fire Monkey--it went together quickly.  The fabrics started with the great cowboy and cowgirl print that I believe is an older Michael Miller print; my mom gave it to me.  She also gave me the covered wagons--that fabric is the gift that keeps on giving because I keep thinking that I used the last of it and then I find more!  The boots were donated to the Project Linus chapter and the bandana fabric and red were fabrics I just had, there wasn't enough of the bandana print so I added in some solid red.

House stitches
For the quilting, we started with just the grid of the large blocks.  Fire Monkey really loves the "fancy stitches" so I let him pick each line.  His favorite were these houses.

Star stitches

I really like the stars, he picked those out too.

loop/lasso stitches

He started with loops, I think they look like lassos and are very appropriate!

And then he needed one more so I suggested one I tought looked like chicken feet.  Well, he cracked up at "chicken feet" and had to use that one!  At this point I was almost out of red thread, so this one is a brownish-red.

I wish I had taken a picture of the quilt with just te fancy stitches. I decided that since we did the grip of the big blocks that it just wasn't enough quilting so I added a 4" cross hatch on my own.

I'm honestly not super thrilled with this quilt; I don't like the cross-hatch stitches mixed with the fun stitches, the directional fabrics are frequently upside down, and it honestly just looks a mess to me.  I'm hoping that someone appreciates the cowboys and cowgirls, though. And Fire Monkey did have fun, especially with the fancy stitches.  This is my 10th completed project toward my goal of 52 completed projects in 2020.