Monday, February 12, 2018

Giftie McGiftersons

It's time to reveal some secret sewing! Recently I made baby quilts for two still-in-the-oven family members and they have been received by the expecting parents so I can share them here.

This one is called Hugs and Kishes, Covered With Fishes. The pattern is Hugs and Kisses by Lyn Brown, available for free here. I made it with a layer cake from Free Spirit fabrics.

The fabrics feature sea creatures like whales, fish, sharks, and crabs. The crab fabric also says "crabby crabby crabby" all over it, which cracks me up! This quilt is for my cousins Greer and Nate. Nate's parents, the doting grandparents, are both marine biologists. I've made two other oceanic quilts for this family: Scuba Dog and Dive Path.

You'll be SHOCKED to see this yellow plaid as the backing. It really is great fabric and I still have yards and yards and YARDS of it left. Floppy feather quilting in yellow thread gives nice texture and snuggly softness.

My cousins usually don't find out the gender of their baby until the day the little one arrives, so I thought these bright colors would work for them no matter what. 

I had the perfect stripe in my stash for binding, too. The colors in the layer cake included an usual burgundy that was also in this stripe, even though they are two completely different fabric lines. 

My brother's middle daughter, Charis, is just entering her third trimester. Charis and Nate (yes, another Nate!) are expecting a little sister for their darling son. I made Hungry Animal Alphabet for them. The panel is from Janet Wecker-Frisch, and features an animal, a food, and lots of other fun things to find that begin with each letter. 

The drawings are really sweet and well done. Here's a hippo in a hibiscus housecoat, eating a hamburger near a hat rack.

Who eats raspberries? A rhino in a rose-covered romper, of course! This one is my favorite because there's a quilt on the table and another hanging on the wall behind the quail. (The wall quilt is a bear paw pattern, if you must know.)

Charis is using soft colors in the bambina's nursery, so I bordered the panel squares with this nice tweedy gray Essex Linen and used sage green cornerstones.

On the back I used several pink fabrics. I wanted to put more pink on the front, but it didn't work quite right with the animal prints.

The border is another fabric from the same line, featuring a number of the hungry animals. I stitched a flanged binding with the sage green and a matching stripe. The quilting is straight lines that echo the blocks and diagonals across the middle of each block.

Charis said she ripped open the box as soon as it arrived because she knew what must be inside. That makes a quilting auntie very happy!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Looks like a great eBay deal...

I just saw this "Buy It Now" listing on eBay for 50 fat quarters of blue fabric plus a nice looking pattern: Quilt Fabric. About $21 including shipping for over 12 yards of fabric!

Normally I would snap this right up for myself, but I no longer have a good way to receive mail before we leave the country. Maybe one of my readers will find it interesting.

I know nothing about this seller, and it's clear that she doesn't know much about fabric. She says the fabric is from the estate of a quilter. I recognize some of the fabric so at least some of it is 100% cotton, and probably most of it is. The seller decided to cut yardage up into FQs to sell it, maybe because she heard quilters like FQs? Odd to have a listing of multiple FQs of the same fabric, but hey, the price is right.

If you decide to buy it, leave me a comment and I'll update this blog post. Good luck!

Monday, February 5, 2018

UFO sighting

I made these blocks back in October and stitched up the flimsy which then got folded up neatly onto a hanger and hung behind the studio door. Once that happens for me, a project officially becomes a dreaded UFO. In Quilt Blog Land (QBL) a UFO means UnFinished Object.

UFO Busting

Well, Tish in Wonderland is helping keep all of us on track to get our UFOs out of the closet and back into the bright sunshine! 

I admit I don't sweat my UFOs very much. My storage space is really limited, so it doesn't take long before I get motivated to work on a piece just to get it moved along and off the boat.

But seeing all the progress that other quilters are making on their UFOs prompted me to pull out this scrappy happy piece and get it finished earlier rather than later.

I layered it up with more of the yellow plaid that DH's aunt gave me, and quilted it simply with FMQ orange peels. I'm not sure what possessed me to use light blue in the bobbin except there is a thin blue line in the yellow plaid. Yellow thread disappears on this fabric, but the blue...not so much. After a good wash and dry, though, all the wobbles and bobbles blended in.

I decided to donate this quilt to Wrap A Smile (WAS), which is one of the great charities supported by my new online guild, Sunshine. I managed to get it into the mail last week.

This quilt is full of novelty print scraps. Dogs and scooters and cupcakes and mice...

...and basketballs and hummingbirds and trucks...

...and bicycles and stars and chicken drumsticks, just to name a few. A bright purple binding ties it all together. Most of the WAS quilt recipients are young children, so I think this will provide some comfort and entertainment.

I've named it Scrap A Smile and this UFO is officially Busted!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Sweet DREAMIs!

DREAMI, if you don't know, stands for DRop Everything And Make It! Also known as a quilting squirrel, it's a project that you just can't resist and have to make RIGHT NOW.

This week I learned about another neat charity, called A Doll Like Me. Amy sews soft, sweet dolls that share a physical disability with their young owner. It might be a scar, a birthmark, or a missing limb. It might be a bald doll for a tiny chemo patient. As a pediatric nurse, Amy sees how powerful and healing it is for children to love dolls that look like themselves. 

Bernie at Needle and Foot put out a call for quilters to make some tiny quilts to go with these amazing dolls, and I just couldn't resist stitching up these three. I had some left over blocks from one of my first Project Linus quilts. I thought the bright, happy jungle animals might bring a smile.

At around 20"x24" each, these little pieces stitched up super fast and I was able to make them all in a single day. I quilted them with a quick stipple and bound them all in the same blue stripe. 

I have a niece who had open heart surgery as a baby. When she was a little girl, she struggled with the large scar on her upper chest, always worrying that she looked "different." These quilts were made in her honor.

Making them was definitely a SQUIRREL! moment, so I'm calling them Kit 1, Kit 2, and Kit 3, since baby squirrels are called kits. I tested Kit 2 on Big Daddy, who rides on my husband's scooter. A perfect fit!

My scooter has a bear, too, named Eddy Jr. He's has been out in the rain for a while, his fur is starting to shed, and he's got a thin layer of road grime on him. He doesn't mind, but I didn't want to muss up the quilt. Big Daddy and the scooter he rides are both brand new and very clean, because they replace a bike and bear that were stolen from us mere weeks ago. That is a sad and sordid tale that I'll leave for another time, but you might notice the big cable lock around both front tires. We are sadder, wiser and more paranoid now.

I'll link this post up to Sandra's February DREAMI linky later in the month.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Jack's Basket Quilts

Today I have three little quilts to share with you. They were all made specifically for a charity called Jack's Basket, which provides support for families with new Downs Syndrome babies. Every baby deserves to be celebrated! In that spirit of celebration, I decided to make happy little quilts to put in the baskets. Jack's Basket asks that the quilts be approximately 30"x36".

The first quilt is called Joyful Jack, because the fabrics are so upbeat and happy! I made it using six little panel squares that feature smiling animals with encouraging words like "Never forget how much you are loved" and "Have courage, dream big." 

The other blocks are scrappy crumb-y blocks in bright novelty fabrics. 

Joyful is sashed in a pale green and yellow geometric with scrappy cornerstones. I had a mini charm pack that was the right colors so I grabbed 20 of the squares. The parrot block above has a pale yellow background that mushed into the sashing, so I put a thin purple border around it and centered it to make it look deliberate. Big stipple for quilting makes a soft, snuggly quilt. The binding is the same as the sashing, the first time I've tried that. It gives a nice, clean finish, not that you can tell on this busy, happy little quilt.

Jungle Jack is a very simple quilt made from a panel of jungle critters. While none of these animals are smiling, they have cute, whimsical looks on their faces and I find them quite appealing. The colors are earth tones: brown, gray, green, orange and a touch of blue. I found some FQs that coordinated and pieced together piano key borders to bring the size up to 30"x36". I quilted around the panel to frame it, then did a big, loose wavy crosshatch over the animals with my walking foot. In the borders I did FMQ hearts and arches.

No need for a pieced backing with quilts this small. Less than a yard covers the whole back lickety split. On Joyful Jack I used this fun print called Animal Tails, which shows the backsides of circus animals wearing brightly colored formal jackets. For Jungle Jack, I used a brown and orange print with oak leaves and acorns. OK, oaks aren't really jungle plants, but the colors are right. I used the same print as the binding. The bindings on both quilts are machine sewn to be sturdy.

These tiny quilts go together so fast! Because I already had the cut panels and crumb blocks in my Block Orphanage, each one was completed from piecing to quilting in a single day. When I folded them up to put them into a medium flat rate box for shipping, there was room left over. Well heck, I thought, I'll just make a third quilt to fill that box!

This one is Monterey Jack, named after the pieces of cheese in this mouse print. Yes, I know that's Swiss cheese, but c'mon, I had to keep with the "Jack" themed names, right? This design uses four FQs, and I saw it on Nancy's blog. You can buy the pattern from Modern Quilt Studio as part of a booklet of several patterns. However, I have Chronic Math Brain and often fall asleep thinking about numbers. It's a sickness, I know. Knowing that the pattern finished at 30"x36" and that a FQ is typically 18"x21", the dimensions to cut each piece floated gently out of the void and into my head. Yesterday I woke up, picked four fun fabrics, and started cutting. By the end of the day, the third quilt was finished.

The focal fabric that set the color palette is this happy kitty piece. I love their smiling faces and the little bird that perches on the ears and tails! The mouse and cheese fabric coordinated nicely and gives good contrast. A soft purple and a bit of leftover butterfly fabric and we're done. There's a vertical strip of yellow blender between the two sections, and I used that fabric again in the flange of the binding to give a nice frame.

I tried different cutting dimensions on the flanged binding this time. Usually I cut the main fabric 1.5" wide and the flange 1.75". This time I upped the flange to 2" which makes the whole binding a bit wider and the flange is more obvious. I like a wide binding, so I'm happy with this. I wouldn't go much bigger, though, because the fold of the flange would get too floppy, I think.

The backing is a single piece of this medium, muted blue. It picks up the blue in the yarn balls and butterflies on the front, and nicely matches the outside of the binding. I quilted Monterey Jack in floppy feathers, which is becoming a new favorite motif! I love how fast they stitch, and soooo forgiving. No one is more shocked than I am that I like feathers. The front thread is a bright yellow 40 weight and the bobbin is light blue 50 weight. Yellow is such a great neutral for quilting that even though the yellows in the quilt are very soft and muted, bright yellow thread looks great on top.

Today the three pieces took a tumble through the washer and dryer and they are now snuggled together in their shipping box, ready to take a Priority flight to Jack's Baskets in Minnesota. 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Friday Finish: British Columbia Dreams

This quilt was finished on a Friday, but not this Friday. It was a gift to my brother David and his family and had to wait patiently for a few weeks until they were ready to receive it.

My brother lives in Houston, and his house was flooded during Hurricane Harvey. Until last week, they've been displaced, living in hotels and an RV parked in his church's parking lot. I wanted to wait until they were back in their home to send them this quilt.

My sister-in-law, Dianne, grew up in British Columbia among the beautiful mountains and trees, and green is her favorite color. I made each of these Lady of the Lake blocks from different green fabrics and most of them have trees or leaves on them. I named the quilt British Columbia Dreams, knowing that there might have been times when Houston wasn't her favorite place.

On the back, I put this large scale, pretty print of koi fish, and surrounded it with a mottled green fabric that was given to me by my DH's aunt.

I thought these serene fish might remind my family that not all waters are floods, and that they swim in a sea of love.

I thought I had taken some close up photos of the quilting, but alas. I did simple dot-to-dot triangles in the large green pieces, squiggles in the small cream/gray pieces, and a rising sun FMQ motif in the large cream/gray pieces. "Out came the sun, and dried up all the rain..."

I'm happy to report that this quilt was received in Houston and now graces their new couch in their renovated living room. The quilt was finished before I saw photos of their accent wall, painted green. They seem very pleased with it, which makes my heart sing!

Linking up with TGIFF over on Sandra's blog.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Blog is quiet, studio is humming

I've been stitching every day and getting quite a bit accomplished, but you sure wouldn't know it by reading the blog. We're in a boatyard in Fort Lauderdale, "on the hard." That means the boat has been lifted out of the water and put on rickety looking stands so that the underwater part of the hull can be repainted.

It's a particularly messy procedure this time, since we were due to have 15 years of old paint sandblasted off down to the bare steel. Dust, sand, and bits of nasty old paint are everywhere outside, so I've been loathe to take my quilts outside for photos. Plus, the trip to the ground is down a steep ladder and I'm clumsy. So far, I've only dropped one bag of groceries 8 feet to the concrete. That bag had six glass jars of pureed pumpkin baby food in it, which exploded spectacularly, I must say. (We feed it to the elderly cat to keep her regular, works like prunes and she loves it!)

All this to say that I don't have many quilt photos to show for my effort. Here's a token sunset pic taken from our back deck, though. I made six pillowcases for the Thomas Fire Relief and forgot to take any pictures, dang it. I'm also working on two gift baby quilts that I can't show until they are received. Those two plus another gift need to be shipped out before we leave the country. I bound one yesterday and the second one is still being pieced.

I can share this finish, though. Most of these fabrics were donated to Covered in Love, so that's where the quilt will be sent to. The pattern is called "Five Yard Quilt" and is an oldie but goodie available for free here. My understanding is that it was given out free when you purchased five yards from a quilt shop that is now out of business. If anyone knows if there are copyright issues with it, please let me know.

The butterfly focal is so pretty up close. About five butterflies fit in each focal square and five fabric are used in the top. So I'm calling this one Cinco Mariposas. I did a simple big stipple in a bronzey thread to keep it soft and cuddly.


The backing fabric was also donated, this busy geometric in purple, light blue and brown. Super soft, lovely stuff. I'm quite proud of myself for how well I matched the seam. It hardly shows at all in this photo.

From a distance, the back doesn't look busy at all. I put this photo in mostly to show you the fresh, white primer coat on the bottom of the boat. Oooo! Ahhh! My poor quilt holder was anxious about not getting any dirt on the piece.

The Five Yard pattern was really fast and easy to put together, so I decided to use it again with some cute transportation themed fabric that was sent to me a while ago by Sue.  I cut and bagged the fabrics up into a kit, all ready to be pieced at some future date. I saw the idea of cutting your own kits from stash on Sandy's blog and had a real AHA! moment. What a great way to have fabric ready to go. Love it!

Another project I worked on this week was finishing up this flimsy. These are the left over fabrics from Cool Cats. I didn't use any of the black background designs in that quilt, so this piece has a distinctly different vibe. I've named it Night Cats.

I fussy cut the last few kitties from the panel and surrounded them with black, and put the rest of the black fabrics in the setting triangles. Except they aren't setting triangles! This was pieced in a straight setting, then cut into pieces along several diagonals and resewn into the on-point setting. Stitch on a border to contain the bias edges and ta da! The only tricky part was figuring out where to put the black squares so they ended up on the edges after all the magic switch-o change-o.

The latest block drive for Covered in Love is the annual String Fling in any color combo. I decided to try doing rainbow order this time. Wouldn't it be fun to do an entire quilt this way?

I enjoyed making the string blocks that I decided to join the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for 2018 using them. This month's color is light blue, which is my smallest scrap pile, so I only managed to squeak out three blocks and it used ALL my light blues. Yay!

And finally, I joined the Sunshine Online Quilt Guild. They sew for several great charities, and seem like a very kind, low key and supportive group. They have a block lotto each month if I just want to stitch blocks, and also donate flimsies and finished quilts in sizes that work well for my small studio. I'll still be sewing for Project Linus, too. And I'll be doing the Hands2Help Charity Challenge again this year. Oh, and I found a group that supports new parents of babies with Down Syndrome called Jack's Basket. They can use really small quilts, only 30"x36" which will stitch up super fast. I learned about this charity from Nancy at Grace and Peace Quilting. Check out the cute little pieces she made for Jack's already. It's nice to have a variety so that I can sew any quilt I want and always know there's a place to send it!