Charley Harper Quilt Along

Ethne at Flaming Stitches is hosting a Charley Harper Quilt Along!  I absolutely adore Charley Harper’s work.  I love to have tea and snack with my Charley Harper tea cups and plates (made by Tag, I don’t think they are available anymore).  I covet The Golden Book of Biology illustrated by Mr. Harper (I think my husband would balk at me buying a $150 used children’s book though.)  My boys are getting this new puzzle for Easter!  (Okay, it’s really for me.)  So, of course when I heard about the Quilt Along, I couldn’t resist.

I went through my Charley Harper stuff for inspiration: a 2010 calendar, a 2011 calendar, the coloring book, Memory game…  Enlisting the help of 6yo J, he picked out the following piece from the Memory game as what he wanted me to make.

I enlarged it on my copier until it was approximately the size of the block that I wanted to make (about 10×10), and I was off to my LQS to buy some solids.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do about the spots on the owl.  I was considering cutting a bunch of circles using my Sizzix, but I’m not sure I want to bother.  We’ll see how things progress.  I’d love to do a series of three mini-quilts to hang in my kitchen.

I’m cutting out the individual pieces, backed with Heat-n-Bond Lite, and then fusing them down to the green background.  Once that is complete, I will hand-embroider some of the pieces, then make my quilt sandwich and free motion quilt the bigger areas.  I just love the angry expression on the owl’s face!  He does not appreciate that golf ball near his nest!

Cut out pieces for the owls

Start of fusing

My placement is a bit off on the block unfortunately.  Ah well!  It’ll work out.  You can check out everyone else’s progress on the Flickr group for the Quilt Along.  I’m sharing this post on Lily’s Quilts Fresh Sewing Day – her new monthly blog feature about something you’ve been working on in the past month that you are excited about.

Fresh Sewing Day @ Lily's Quilts

Baby quilt in action

I love to see my baby quilts in action!  I made this one in about a week last fall.  I just made up the pattern and it used a fat quarter bundle of Flights of Fancy.  The quilt is about 42″ x 50″ if I remember correctly.

Holiday Place Mats

Well, I started these sometime in early December, but got side-tracked by Christmas and was not able to finish them before the holidays.  I am trying to finish up my works-in-progress from last year before I get too engrossed in new things.  (Hard to do with my short crafting-attention span.)  One down!  37 to go!  No, just kidding, what I would like to finish before moving on to other things are my Amy Butler Daisy Chain quilt for our bedroom, the house appliqued tree skirt (from Fat Quarterly’s Holiday edition) which is sitting on my ironing board and ready to be quilted, the knit Nature Walk pants from the Liesl Gibson workshop last November (1 of 4 pairs completed), and the Doodle Stitch-Along stitching and quilt (2 of 4 blocks complete).

For these place mats, I just cut out the various shapes, stitched them together.  I didn’t bind them traditionally, instead just put down the batting rectangle, then the backing right side up, then the top right side down.  Stitch around, leaving about 4 inches to turn it.  Turn, poke out the corners with a chop stick.  Press well.  Stitched along the bottom rectangle, close to the seam on each side (2 rows of stitching).  Then the same along the seam between the two top rectangles.  Then, top-stitch all the way around the outside, closing up the open hole from turning it as you go.  Easy-peasy!  And now to put these away until next December when I will seeing my new place mats!

Up close picture of my basic quilting

In the meantime, of course since I can’t resist, I have started/completed a few other projects.  I made two Kidlet wall pockets from JCasa’s free pattern using some burlap with the Echino bicycle fabric.  For my friend who loves her bike!  The inside is lined with some Kona cotton in a teal color.  Super cute!

Kidlet

And made an absolutely lovely visit to Halcyon Yarn in Bath, Maine (AMAZING place!) and picked up some gorgeous yarn to make their Family Favorite hats for the boys.  My first knitting project!  We’ll see how it goes.  I’m on row 5 and doing alright so far.

And that’s not even everything!  I had better get my little crafting fingers working!

Christmas Project Status and Open House over at Alewives

Okay, not a lot of posting going on because I’ve been busy getting ready of Christmas of course!  So, here’s what I’ve been up to, and some little information about a cool little Virtual Open House at my favorite fabric store.

Alewives Fabrics is located in Damariscotta Mills which is in mid-coast Maine.  If you are ever here in Maine (or you are you lucky enough to live here), then make the trip!  It is the best fabric store that I’ve ever visited.  Seriously.  My husband is lucky that it’s an hour away otherwise I’d have spent enough to send Rhea (@AlewivesGirl on Twitter, co-owner with her mom in the store) on a trip to Aruba.  Rhea is having a Virtual Open House today on her blog.  Just visit the blog, leave a comment, and she’s giving away some fab prizes.  And in the meantime, while you wait to see if you’ve won, check out her online store.

When I was there last time (at the Liesl Gibson sewing with knits class), I bought some awesome fat quarters of the new Anna Maria Horner Innocent Crush in velveteen.  Oooh!  It’s awesome.  I think I’m going to make some pillows from it.  And Rhea has a great eye for combining fabrics and her 20 fat quarter sets are fab.  I got a cotton set of Innocent Crush of that too.  Not sure what I’m going to do with that.  Hmm…I need to finish my Turning Twenty quilt with Amy Butler Daisy Chain, and then maybe I’ll make another one!

So in Christmas crafting news:

1) Still working on the Hood Tree Skirt.  I ran into a snag.  The front is 42″ round, so they say to use a 44″ square piece for the back.  Well, yes, you’d think that would be easy right?  Fabric is about 44-45″ wide.  Well, not when you’ve pre-washed it.  So, all my Christmas fabrics are only about 42″ wide and won’t work as the backing to compensate for any shifting that might occur as I quilt it.  And it needs to be big enough because the little houses applique go straight to the edge.  Can’t cut any of those off!  So, I need to piece the back.  Sigh.

2) I did succumb to a little “me” shopping at Sew Fresh Fabrics on Etsy.  They had some of comfortstitching’s new Sherbet Pips by Moda in stock! So, I got a charm pack!  So excited.  It’s not coming out until April otherwise. You can see the style in the Little Girl on  a Tree Swing mini quilt that I did a few months ago.  I can’t wait to make some stuff for the guest room with that fabric!  Sew Fresh Fabrics is great!  I also bought some Kona cottons and they mark all the pieces with little stickers with the color name.  So useful!

3) I am making some of these cute little owl ornaments.

4) And I have plans for these little house ornaments, a freebie project from the new book Scandinavian Stitches.

5) Hubby and I are going to use his woodworking skilz to make the boys Harry Potter-esque style magic wands!  We need to work on those.  Maybe tonight.

6) I’m making some more kid-drawing placemats for my mother in law.  Finally got the kids to sit down and make some special drawings, and I’m currently cleaning them up in Paint Shop. Then I will print on that inkjet fabric paper and make into placemats.  The problem is that last year’s placemats have not washed very well.  That inkjet printer fabric seems to hold onto stains.  I’m going to try to Scotchgard them this year and see how that works out. I don’t think I ever shared pictures last year??  I meant to do a tutorial for it but got side-tracked by the fact that they weren’t washing well and didn’t really want to recommend it until I figured out that problem.

7) Christmas Eve pajamas.  I make the boys pajamas every year that I give to them on Christmas Eve.  Haven’t started this year’s yet!  I’d better get cracking!  I have some quilt flannel with cartoon soccer players on it that I might use.  Or I have some baseball fleece.  Hmm…

‘The Hood’ Tree Skirt

Here is my start to ‘The Hood’ Tree Skirt in the 2010 Holiday edition of Fat Quarterly.

Applique houses

I am hoping to get them ironed onto the white background today.  I’ve been meaning to do it for the last two nights, but just haven’t felt up to it after the kids go to bed.  Last night, I spent that time making homemade chicken stock instead.  I’m going to make Greek lemon and rice soup later this week.  YUM!

And here is my favorite Christmas ornament that I made on my tree.  We decorated the tree on Saturday, and I have so much fun pulling out all the ornaments.  It’s a half-eaten gingerbread boy made out of felt and hand-stitched.  Pattern is from Elsie Marley’s blog.  They are quick to make.  Make one for yourself or a friend this year!

Flights of Fancy baby quilt

So, two weeks ago, Thursday, one of my best friends found out that she is having a baby girl after two boys.  She is very excited!  Since I was planning on seeing her a week from that day for our annual “girl’s trip”, I decided that I needed to make her something girly.  And what did I decide on?  A baby quilt.  Hmm….in a week?  Well, everything was going along really well until I sliced the tip of my finger off with my rotary cutter.  No worries…no pictures of that.

Flights of Fancy baby quilt

I found a fat quarter bundle in my stash from the Fat Quarter Shop of Paula Prass’ Flights of Fancy.  It had been languishing there for quite awhile since I hadn’t bought it for any specific purpose.  But, a-ha!  It was perfect.  I needed something quick and easy, and not finding anything that struck my fancy in my many quilting books/magazines, I made my own pattern.  Just really big squares/rectangles from all of the different FQs (there were sixteen in the bundle).  I sketched it out on graph paper to get the scale right, which was actually a very enjoyable process.

I was really proud of myself because I made the entire quilt from stash fabric, except for the binding which is a pink batik that I bought at my local quilting store.  I free motion quilted each square with a little bit of a different pattern.  Some were just all-over squigglys (there’s a real name for that, right?).  Some were wavy lines.  On the smaller rectangles, I just did a straight stitch (with my walking foot) around the inside of the rectangle.

So, there it was on Wednesday.  I was leaving the next day for my trip.  All I had left to do was attach the binding.  As I’m trimming up the quilt, whack!  Eek!  Thankfully I didn’t get any blood on the quilt, but it was pretty hard to sew the binding on after that.  I brought it with me and finished hand-sewing the binding on my trip.  Did you know that you can bring scissors with up to a 4″ blade in your carry-on on a plane?  Craziness.  But, helpful for me.

One thing that I made a “mistake” on when crafting my pattern was that after I was done with the big squares and I was testing out placement, I decided that it needed the white sashing in between the rows (which is Kona in snow).  However, by adding that 2.5″ of sashing, it made my quilt wider than a standard width of quilting cotton.  So when I did the backing, the backing was a tiny bit too small.  I ended up having to trim off some of the sides on the front.  Ah well.  Better than piecing that!  Actually, in retrospect, I should have made the patchwork on the back the opposite way so it added to the width and I would have been fine.  Next time.  Here’s the back (before it was quilted).  It’s Amy Butler Lotus Full Moon Dots in Lime.  That line is a great fill-in for so many things.  I need to get some more.

Back of quilt, before being quilted

And a not-so-good shot after I gave it to my friend.  I should have had the girls hold it up for me outside to get a better picture.  Oh well.  We were busy doing stuff like shopping and pedicures, and sitting around bookstores.

I wish I had time to wash it first because I’d really like to have seen how it looked all quilty and scrunchy.  But, it’s done!  And she was excited to have a pretty, pink quilt.

Quilted potholders

My friend has some super-awesome chickens.  We love to visit them!  I bought some great Robert Kaufman chicken fabric from the Metro Market collection a few months ago with the thought of making something for her.  When I saw Elizabeth from OhFransson! post about the quilted potholders that she was making, I thought those would be a great project to highlight the cute chickens.

Quilted chicken potholders

The other fabrics include Fifties Kitchen from Michael Miller and Juicy Lemon from Alexander Henry.  The white on the front is Kona in Snow, and the green on the inside is also Kona, but I’m not sure which one off the top of my head.  The green woodgrain binding is from the Joel Dewberry Aviary collection.

Embroidered Mini-Quilt

Girl on a Tree Swing Mini-Quilt

I have several tutorials that I want to try linked over in my right sidebar.  One that has been on there for quite awhile, I can finally check off! Comfort Stitching’s Girl on  a Tree Swing mini-quilt tutorial!  I wouldn’t necessarily say that it was quick and easy, but it was relatively, especially considering the huge cuteness-payoff!  The tutorial is very well-written and I had no questions as I moved through the various steps.  The hardest part was deciding what fabrics to use on the patchwork background!

Up-close of the appliqued girl

I have been practicing my freehand machine quilting, so I feel like I did a pretty good job on that.  And by the time I finished outlining all the little patchwork squares, I was getting into a good groove for doing the sketchy stitching applique part of the tree/girl/swing.  I just did some straight line quilting around the white border area for the “quilting” aspect of it.  And I really like the binding that I chose.  (It has orange!)

I just love how it turned out!  It’s hanging over the bed in our guest room.  It’s actually too small for that space, so I’ll probably move it to one of the side walls, but I’ll leave it there for now.

Hubby made the bed

A new quilt

Why are dogs so not smart sometimes??  Especially my golden retrievers.  I was hoping to do a little sewing tonight, but instead my house smells like a skunk and my 10yo golden, who should know better since he’s had prior experience, also smells.  The Skunk-Off is currently drying, and then I need to bathe him.  Fun.  At least the 1.5yo really-fluffy golden retriever was spared.  That would have been much worse.  It only got him a little, but I’m out there shouting at them, and they just ignore me and continue to bark at the skunk.  YOU WILL NOT WIN.  How hard is that to understand??

Well, what I wanted to work on was this little beauty.  I’m making a Turning Twenty queen sized quilt with twenty fat quarters from Amy Butler’s Daisy Chain that I bought at Alewives Fabrics.  It’s so gorgeous!  And I’m feeling motivated from the quilt class that I took last month and I’m going to try hand-quilting it!  Yes.  I can’t wait to try it out.  It’s for our bed.  I’m excited to be making something for myself!

Quilt layout

The pattern makes claims that you can get this done in three hours!  Or some such thing.  Hmmm….yeah, maybe if you are super-human quilter.  I was able to get all the fabric cut and laid out in a pleasing pattern in one evening.  Then, another evening plus 10 minutes here and there to sew all the squares, and sew the rows together.  I think I’ve invested about 7 hours so far, and I have all the rows sewn together, and just need to sew the rows together, and put on the 6.5″ border.  Then, make the quilt sandwich, and start quilting.  I’m thinking, depending on the hand quilting thing, to be able to finish in about 20 hours.  Which is pretty excellent for a queen-sized quilt.  We’ll see how it comes along.

Now off to bathe a dog who knows he is in big trouble.

Quiltmaker Class

I’m taking a short class on being a Quiltmaker.  It’s all hand-sewing, and we pick out fabrics from his (yes, it’s being taught by a man, which is interesting unto itself) big bins of “Found” fabric, freehand cut into rectangles and sew them together without really any pattern.  He wants us to use fabrics with lots of different weights and textures.  And this isn’t standard quilting weight cotton folks!  It’s a lot of vintage, rummage-sale sort of fabric, so lots of random polyesters and things.  No machines, no patterns.  Very much outside of the comfort zone so to speak, and quite interesting so far.  We are also reading a book (A Way of Working) that is vaguely philosophy applied to craft.  It’s from the 1970s, and I have to admit to not being drawn in as of yet.  It’s got that 1970s way of speaking about it which I find off-putting.  But we’ll see.  I’m not going to judge when I’ve just started it!  (Well, maybe a little bit, LOL.)

Here’s my little swatch of the fabrics that I chose to use so far:

Fabric Swatches

And my little bit of a start.  Hand-sewing is much easier than I thought it would be.  Well, I shouldn’t say that.  I love to hand-sew, but it’s usually felt or little stuffies or embroidery.  I’ve never sewn seams like this.  My stitches aren’t gorgeous, I will admit, but even after just these few pieces, they are already improving.

My imperfect stitches

Progress as of 3/20/2010

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