Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Hexagons Layout

I'm really pleased to have FINISHED the hexagons for the Christmas Quilt! If my calculations are correct, that's 364 hexagons (but who's counting?!)! I'm pleased with how this is turning out!

ProsperityStuff Christmas Hexagons Quilt Top

So, now, it's time for working on layout ...

I've decided to do the solid cream color for the rectangular "background" behind the hexagons. The Christmassy plaid with the metallic gold threads is going to be cut on the bias as a border. More cream for an outer border, I think. Near the top of the photo is the backing fabric, which is a white-on-tan floral, (but it's actually a much darker color than it looks in this picture). 

ProsperityStuff Christmas Hexagons Layout

I'm excited about getting near the end of this project. I'll probably do the assembling and quilting by machine, just to make sure it gets done sooner, rather than later!

[UPDATE: To see the finished product, see this post. ]

I've mentioned this quilt in progress a time or two at Take Your Time Tuesday ~ which is a weekly group of links especially for sewn-by-hand projects. So I'm linking this post to this week's Take Your Time Tuesday at So Happy... 

And, when Wednesday rolls around, I plan to link this post to Work in Progress Wednesday at Freshly Pieced ... Click the button below to see some other great works in progress!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mini-Quilty Coasters ...

Lately, I've wanted to try some more free-motion quilting ... without the pressure of a big project. 
So, I decided to make some rag-quilty coasters. With free-motion "quilting" attaching just two layers of denim (no batting). 

Quick and easy, relatively speaking. And lots of fun!

So, with some fun sewing, and a lot of clipping ...

I made some little coasters ...

And after washing them, the edges turned out cute and fuzzy ...

If you have a minute, stop by and visit Little Quilt Monday at pieceful life ... I'm linking this post there ... Have a great Monday!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Finish It Up Friday ...

A couple of my favorite quilting blogs host Friday roundups where bloggers can share their recently-finished projects. (See a couple of links at the end of this post.) These are fun motivators to finish projects, not just work on them

I got a couple of quilty things finished this week, which is very satisfying. 

Here, for now, I'm going easy on the pictures, because both of these will be gifts ... so, you get a couple of quick pictures, but not much detail ...

This one involves fleece, and crazy-quilty work, and cute Winnie-the-Pooh fabric:

And the other one involves jeans and rag-quilty fuzziness:

I'm looking forward to seeing the projects fellow-quilters have been finishing up at CrazyMomQuilts' Finish It Up Friday!

Also, AmyLouWho's Sew and Tell Friday has a bunch of fun links for recent projects, so I'm linking this post there, as well.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Miscellany

Here's a link for a fun, Google decoration for Thanksgiving ... Open the link, click on the turkey feathers, or better yet, the hat, the shoes, the wing ... It's one of those random, funny things your kids (or you?) could play with for a while ...
(Update: The cute Thanksgiving Google decoration is gone now. It was a cute turkey-in-the-shape-of-a-hand, with feathers, hat and shoes that would change if you clicked on them. It was fun while it lasted ...)

Our kitchen markerboard includes these right now:

"In every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thessalonians 5:18

"O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever," Psalm 136:1

Something to think about ... "What if you woke up today with only the things you specifically thanked God for yesterday?"

My kids and I had an interesting discussion on that quote at the end ... it makes you think about all those little things that are too easy to take for granted.

My friend Cassandra writes an eloquent and thought-provoking blog, called Moonboat Cafe. She shares some of her thoughts on Thanksgiving in her Monday post Growth and the Holidays. Definitely worth reading.

I hope you and yours have a great Thanksgiving Day. We have much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Quilt Top a Dozen Years Later ...

A couple of weeks ago, I reached a milestone in an ongoing project of mine ... After a very (very) long time, I finished piecing a quilt top that I've been working on (off and on) for a dozen years! Yes. A dozen.

You know those projects that you love, that you want to do "just right", that you procrastinate about? (Do you have those kind?) This is one of those. I love it.

This one started out ages ago when I had made about one quilt. I knew I could quilt, so I was gathering fabric here and there, when I found fabric I liked.

When I saw a quilt at my friend Dianne's house, I fell in love with it. There was an awesome quilt on her guestroom bed. So I drew her quilt on the only scrap of paper I had handy.

Since I had the fabric, and loved the quilt pattern, I decided to go for it, even though this quilt involved diamonds. I'd told myself I wouldn't mess with diamonds again after piecing the other diamonds quilt.

I figured and measured and computerized my quilt design (back when I didn't even know they had computer-quilt-design software) ... I'm pretty sure my mom helped me figure and calculate and plan ...

I colored in the "pattern". And cut fabric. And sorted. And put pieces in little baggies. All organized.

The quilt top, and its backing fabric, and its extra scraps have spent a lot of time in this box ... It's a good feeling to finally have the quilt top constructed.

 In fact, the same afternoon that I got the quilt top done, I immediately went to the store and bought batting and safety pins. For the next step. So that I can pin it and start to quilt it. Because I've had the backing fabric ever since I started the quilt. A dozen years ago.

So, yes, it's not quilted yet. I'm planning to machine quilt. Because I know myself. And I know that the last time I decided to hand-quilt a big project, it was a decade-long process of off and on ... Like I said, that hand-quilted quilt was, and is, awesome. So awesome that it has lived on my bed ever since I finished quilting it. But I think I'll machine-quilt this newest quilt, so that it won't take another decade ... Stay tuned ...

Since this is definitely a work in progress, I'm linking this post to Work in Progress Wednesday at Freshly Pieced ... Click the button below to see some other great works in progress!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Christmas Hexagons and Jeans Patches ...

The vast majority of my sewing happens on the sewing machine: that way, the work is (relatively) fast, sturdy, efficient.

But the nice thing about projects that are sewn by hand is that they can be done from the comfort of a rocking chair. Very nice. 

Last week, I mentioned a blog called So Happy, with a fun link party called Take Your Time Tuesday ~ especially for sewn-by-hand projects. So I'm linking this post to this week's Take Your Time Tuesday ... 

Here's the latest on my sewing-by-hand: 

In my rocking chair, I've been finishing up the last few hexagons for the Christmas Quilt ... Just those last few at the bottom need to be sewn together and into the quilt ... then the finishing process can begin ...

In other sewing-by-hand news:
My youngest son's jeans have been sprouting holes at alarming rates. Since it's getting too cold to turn them all into cutoff shorts, and since I'd like him to get a little more use out of these jeans, I decided to patch the jeans.

I never patch jeans. But I've seen some really cute tutorials (which I can't find right now, to give them credit ... sorry!) that make the patches look great ... so I thought I'd try.

So, here we have ...
A cute soccer iron-on patch on top of a not-so-cute plain iron-on patch ... Stitched the edges so they won't "peel" off ...

This required a lot of thimble work. Two thimbles. Yeah.

Orange thread, for the jeans that already had orange details ...

I think they turned out pretty cute. The little dude is not sure if he likes the "black" patches, as he calls them, but he's getting over it, and I'm hoping they'll fade a little in the wash. Anyway, navy twill patches were what I had on hand.

About the time I finished those, a couple more pairs of little pants-with-holes came out of the wash, so I did some more patches. Might as well ...

By the way, whatever size the patches came in (5x7? 4x6?) turned out to be just right for me to cut a patch in HALF, round the corners, and iron onto the little-guy jeans. 

I used embroidery floss for the stitching, to give the patches some color ... not sure how well that'll hold up, but we'll see.

Speaking of embroidery floss, did I mention that I recently came across a TON of embroidery floss, and that some of it is listed in my eBay auctions (with free shipping!), so if you need any this week, check my listings!

"A Year In Denim" Mini Rag Quilt

years, I've been wanting to make something quilty that's "Block of the Month". Not in the sense that somebody sends me something to work on once a month. More in the sense of "reminds you of a calendar", with a block to represent each month.

I've got doodles on graph paper with cute layouts for elaborate pieced blocks for a really big quilt. I've got some of the parts cut for some of the months. But there are still a lot of missing pieces to that puzzle, so I haven't really "started" that one. 

While I was playing with some of my latest thrift-store denim, it hit me: A MINI-QUILT would be a great way to try some block of the month ideas AND a great way to try out the raw-edge-applique techniques I keep reading about in other people's blogs. Quick project, new techniques: win-win!

Here's a quick run-down of the process:
I drew the cute little shapes on the paper-side of Heat n Bond Lite. (Awesome stuff. Haven't tried anything like this lately. Works like a charm.)

I cut out my little shapes out of Heat n Bond Lite, and picked cute fabrics to go with them ...

I ironed all those little Heat n Bond Lite pieces to my cute fabrics (and wondered what in the world I was getting myself into with all those tiny little pieces!) ...

Then I cut out all those little pieces (trimming the fabric to match the ironed-on paper-stuff) ...

And then I was floored by the cuteness ...

Then I ironed all those pieces onto my denim squares (which, for size-reference, were cut at 5 ½ inches). Yes, I did have to number my denim with chalk, so that I could figure out some lighter/darker balance in the denim colors ... AND to prevent myself from accidentally sewing the months out of order ...

I decided to sew the blocks together rag-quilt style, with the seam allowances showing, and with the seam allowances clipped, just to see how the raggedy look would work. Not bad! I like it.

I'm hard-pressed to pick a favorite block ... This thing really turned out cute!

Since this is going in my eBay auctions, my big dilemma after making this quilt was whether to wash it before listing it or not. I usually prewash rag quilts, to start getting the fuzzy raggedyness going ... but I also like the just-clipped-and-brand-new look of the not-yet-washed rag quilt ...

In the end, I decided to wash it. And I'm glad I did. The denim frayed perfectly!
Click here to see this item on eBay ... and I have a feeling I'll be making more of these. 
Oh. I almost forgot to mention the finished size: 18" x 14".

(Speaking of eBay, I happened across a TON of new DMC floss recently, so if you need any, I've got some listed there this week, with FREE shipping!)

I'm linking this post to Pieceful Life's Little Quilt Monday - Thanks again to Elizabeth and friends for the continued inspiration of sharing recent mini quilt projects!

ALSO, Quilt Story's Fabric Tuesday is a great, inspiring place, and I'm linking this post there as well. Head on over and see what else is going on at Fabric Tuesday!

Fresh Poppy Design

Monday, November 21, 2011

The first big quilt ...

This is the first big quilt I made ... Machine-pieced, hand quilted ... 

I've always loved variety, and so, the color scheme (or lack thereof?) reflects that.

This is the quilt I decided to start making when I was a teenager. (Yes. That long ago. More on that later.) My mom and I shopped for fabric, and I used her rotary cutting stuff to cut allllll those diamonds. And triangles. And squares.

After I got all the piecing done, I decided to quilt it by hand. By. Hand.
Flowers in the empty navy blue squares ...
Stars around the stars ...
Waves and curlicues on the edging ...

As often happens to my projects, I got a little distracted from the project when I was nearly done. I had half of the hand quilting done, and then I stopped. (At least I had a good excuse ... During the decade that I didn't work on the hand quilting, I got married, moved to a new state, and had five awesome kids ... )

When I finally realized that the quilt was halfway quilted, I decided to try for a little bit of consistent work in the evenings when the kids were in bed. Sure enough, it got done. More than a decade after starting ... Voila!

I finished it a couple of years ago. It has lived on my bed ever since. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Quilt Circles ...

I love the fact that quilting gives me chances to make and accomplish things. I also love that quilting gives me the occasional satisfaction of trying (often even succeeding at) something new.

Not too long ago, I tried a new quilt pattern/style for the first time: The "Drunkard's Path" Block. Curved pieces and curved seams have always seemed a little intimidating ... but after watching how "do-able" it seemed in the online tutorials/videos, I figured I should give it a try.

Here are a few of the blocks I put together, just laid out on the table:

ProsperityStuff Circle Quilt Drunkard's Path blocks

When I started assembling these blocks into circles, my youngest son declared that "They look like moons!" Which is true. So this one got dubbed "Harvest Moons".

ProsperityStuff Circle Quilt Drunkard's Path

It turned into a nice-sized quilt top for my eBay listings ...

ProsperityStuff Circle Quilt Harvest Moon

Looking on Google for layout ideas for this block, I found no shortage of ideas ... It's amazing what you can do with that quarter-circle-sewed-into-a-square ...

Here's a totally different layout I tried - The whole center section of this quilt top was made with Drunkard's Path Blocks ... I was pleased with how this little quilt top turned out.
ProsperityStuff Circle Quilt Drunkard's Path Harvest Moon
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