Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Productive Day

Trying to get in as much sewing and quilting as possible before returning to work next week.

Thanks, C., for coming over today for an old fashioned quilting bee and figuring out the best layout for the USC string baby quilt.

This one looks much better in person. The picture doesn't capture the subtleties of the different yellows and taking the picture at night in fluorescent lighting doesn't help. See that secondary square in the middle from the striped white/yellow fabrics? Her great eye caught that. Thanks, C.!

It was a productive day. Also finished

1) Upcycling some used clothing into two 16" throw pillows for my cousin who is a lifeguard with the Los Angeles County Fire Department:

I think they came out great. The two pillows are identical, and the picture shows the two sides. The white fabric used to be a polo shirt that was fussy cut to include the lifeguard patch. The red used to be a fleece jacket fussy cut to capture all of the embroidery on the back.

2) Upcycled an old blanket into the Everything Tote from Heather Ross' book Weekend Sewing

For those of you from first generation Korean American households, the fabric may look familiar. Very fun to think of a quilted blanket as fabric yardage. Oh, the possibilities.

3) Pieced the top of 1 of 2 baby quilts that C. is making for her friend who is having fraternal twins. This one is the girl's quilt.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

USC Baby Quilt

A co-worker's baby shower is in February so I'm taking advantage of the winter break to begin a string quilt in cardinal and gold. Each square is about 9" and the quilt should finish a little less than 36" square, which should be a good size for a stroller-friendly blanket.

All the schools who license their logos for fabric are genius. And all the schools that don't license their fabrics (cough, Cal) need to get with the program.

And after two months of promising, I finally made oven mitts for my mom.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Hope you all had a great Christmas!

Just to keep track of what quilts went where this Christmas. Based on the list below, the boys were neglected this year and will likely be getting quilts next year. They'd probably prefer a swiss army knife.

I'm Blushing for my sister
Per her request using the I'm Blushing quilt pattern by Natalina Bonner of Piece N Quilt and using the Whimsy fabric line from Moda. The back was pieced using the remaining fat quarters and could be a quilt itself.

Autumn Comfort for my aunt
Using Gobble, Gobble line from Moda and fabric from my swap partner for Stash Manicure's Brown Bag Quilt challenge. The pattern is Nice Day by Carrie Nelson from her book Schnibbles Times Two.

Improv for another aunt
Using a bunch of brown and blue fat quarters from my stash to match her home decor and using the disappearing nine-patch block plus some improvisation to make the quilt large enough to be used as a throw quilt. Backed in plush brown fabric.

Flowers for Joanne for my cousin
Made from fat quarters from my stash and using the pattern Sweet Pea by Heather Mulder Peterson of Anka's Treasures. I think the back is even better than the front and was a result of simply playing with the scraps.
Purples on Parade for a friend's daughter

Made from fat quarters from my stash and following the pattern New Wave by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson!  The friend's daughter's favorite color is purple (although that may have changed by the time she got the quilt). Backed in plush white fabric.

Hidden Pinwheels for a co-worker's daughter

Using the Freebird collection from Moda. The basic block is the traditional quilt block Broken Dishes. The quilt needed to be playful, but not too obviously girly.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Work in Progress: Last-minute Christmas Quilt

My mom suggested earlier this week that since I finished my cousin's quilt that I should also make one for my aunt. Maybe because it would be a bit awkward at Christmas when my cousin opened her present and nothing similar was available for her mom.

the quilt is actually square; the camera angle distorts the shape

So after some thought about my aunt's decorating scheme and colors she seemed to favor, I decided to focus on blues and browns.  The quilt also needed to be a quick design, but nothing too simple because then it would just be boring to piece and a chore to make.  The disappearing nine-patch block seemed a good compromise and the top came together quickly except that the finished size was too small: 36" x 36". Perfect for a baby quilt, not so perfect for a grown woman.

So I did what I always seem to end up doing whenever I make a quilt improvisationally, which is to say, get all the left over fabric and figure out something while munching potato chips for brain food. In this case that ended up being deciding to add a border made up of 2.5" squares strip-pieced together, which gets the quilt to an eventual 48" square. Since I want to make the quilt at least 52" square, I'll have to figure out how to add an additional 2" on each side. And soon.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

15 card cases

2(8"x5" piece of fabric) + 8"x5" piece of batting + 1 cool button = 1 quick and cute fabric card case

Over the past couple of nights, I made 15 of them using the Think It, Make It Pouch Tutorial as gifts for colleagues and friends. The most difficult part was finding just the right buttons to match the different  fabric linings and then hand sewing them to the pouch, which is to say not difficult at all.

The finished size is just right to hold a credit card or two or it can be used as an envelope for a gift card.  Or even as a tooth envelope for the tooth fairy. The possibilities are endless.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Finished! Flowers for Joanne quilt

56" x 59"

 Hooray! The quilt for my cousin is done. For fun, I wanted to try a new quilting design, so instead of the usual stippling, meandering flowers. Still needs a lot of practice and more forethought when actually quilting, but a nice change of pace.

Close up (but don't look too closely) of the quilting as seen from the back
But what really makes me happy is the back.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

21 Headbands

A while back I made some reversible fabric headbands for E.  My sister liked them so much that she thought they would make great Christmas gifts and asked me to make 18 of them. That was months ago. Turning the buggers inside out tired my fingers so I procrastinated, but I found another tutorial online from The Long Thread that made making the headbands much easier. So here are the 21 that will soon tidy some little girls' hair in Utah.

one side...

... the other side
To finish them off, I need to get some 1/2 inch elastic from Joann. Very convenient that the chain is having a major sale this weekend. So the headbands will be finished in time for gift giving after all.

This project is a great way to use up scraps that are at least 13" x 2.5". And they don't take long to make either, especially if you make them assembly-line style.

Some tips if you decide to make your own:
  • The tutorial in the Long Thread recommends that you fold each side of the headband and stitch wrong sides together so that you don't have to turn the headbands inside out.  Well, the size of the headbands is large enough that turning them inside out is not that big of a deal with a sturdy safety pin. So I found it cleaner to sew the pieces right side together with a 1/4" seam and then turn inside out.
  • Also helpful was hemming the short edges of each piece to create a clean opening where the elastic will go prior to sewing the pieces together. Doing so provided some stability for the safety pin and also meant not having to fiddle with the opening to get rid of the raw edges.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Happy Accident

close up of the "j"


Wanting to use up as much of the fabric as possible, I randomly sewed up whatever was leftover from making the quilt top and borders for my cousin's quilt.  Lo and behold that the pieces so cooperatively configured themselves into a "j" for the quilt backing. How convenient.

The quilt top is a lot of fun, but in this case, the quilt back promises to be even better.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Work in Progress: Flowers for Joanne

This post is actually for S. in NYC who wanted to know what new quilt I was working on. My cousin likes blue, but she'll be getting a much brighter quilt instead for Christmas. I hope she'll like it anyway.

The pattern is Sweet Pea by Heather Mulder Peterson for her Sanibel line. The quilt top came together fairly quickly. A marathon cutting and piecing session Saturday night got the basic blocks together. I've been sneaking in time in the mornings to machine applique the flowers.


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