Thursday, November 27, 2014

Helping My Niece

First off, "Happy Thanksgiving" to everyone celebrating in the United States.  And I hope everyone else still has a very happy day! 

As I mentioned in my last post, my niece is visiting for Thanksgiving.  While here she wanted to make her second quilt.  She picked out all the fabrics, and we cut them into five inch squares together. (I added a few fat quarters from my stash so she would have enough fabric.)  Then she laid them out and sewed them together with my mother-in-law (Nana) helping with the ironing. 

Then they came over to my house and we tied it together in my basement.  She did a fantastic job putting the quilt together. 

After it was tied...

I added the binding for her to complete the quilt. 

We had so much fun together.  I love helping and teaching others to quilt.  And while this was her second quilt, it was much bigger than her first.  It finishes at about 68 x 86 inches.  So now she has two quilts to take home in her luggage.  What a sweety. 


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Summer Twist: A Finished Quilt

This quilt became a fast finish, because I was making it for my sister-in-law who lives in New Hampshire.  I found out that my niece was visiting for Thanksgiving and would be happy to take it back with her saving on postage.  Sweet! 

Both Cheetah and my hubby came up with the name "Summer Twist" because it has summer roses and is a twister quilt. I made it my way by cutting ten inch squares into four equal pieces and putting them up on the design wall.

I have never been to my sister-in-law's house so I had to ask her what colors she likes and uses.  She told me that one room has denim furniture and the other room has beige furniture.  I asked her if she liked neutrals or would want an accent.  She said that they like all colors, except Kelly green.  Then she left it up for me to decide.  I thought that red would be a good accent color and went shopping. 

This is what I brought home.  It is mostly StudioE Essentials 8 and 9. The solid is Kona Black.

But when I got it up on my design wall, it looked too busy and not long enough. 

So I went back to my LQS (thank goodness their Pre-Thanksgiving Sale was extended) and bought more fabric.  Using only two of each fabric made it so I had enough for a second quilt.  So this quilt will have a twin which will live with me.  I'm thinking of calling the second, yet to be made, quilt "Twister Twin." 

I added some Kona Crimson, Robert Kauffman, and Kimberbell Designs in addition to some more StudioE.  Plus I added one more row.  It looked so much better on the design wall. 

This made me really appreciate my way for doing the twister quilt.  It was easy to add a row and change the fabrics because the pieces weren't sewn together yet.  The hardest part of this quilt for me was deciding on the layout.  As you can see it changed from the picture above to the layout below. 

I love it and will be so happy to keep its twin at my house.  ;)

I quilted it with a pointy spiral because the twister blocks always remind me of pinwheels.

I added one of my corner labels (not pictured) and bound it in Kona Black like the border. 

I put one of the leafy prints from Essentials 9 on the back. 

I took this quilt to show my mom because she also bought some of the same fabrics to make a quilt.  My dad saw it all folded up with the backing showing and said, "That is striking." 

Turns out my dad like the top even more.  I hope my sister-in-law feels the same way. 

Quilt Stats #119
Name: Summer Twist
Pattern: Twister quilt from 10 inch squares made my way
Fabric: Mostly StudioE Essentials 8 & 9 and Kona Black
Amount Used: 6.5 yards
Batting: Hobbs 80/20
Size: About 53 x 70 inches
Date Finished: November 2014
What I Learned:
  • Multi-color prints need some one color prints to balance them out. 
  • I like adding fabrics from another line.
  • I love my way for doing the twister. 
I also finished up the gifts for my two nieces who live in New Hampshire.  I told S that she couldn't peek at her gift until Christmas.  I wrapped the pillow cases in large mailing envelopes, hoping they would be easy for her to pack. 

Pillow cases and lap quilts make great gifts! 
P.S.  I will be linking up with Let's Bee Social, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop, and Finish it up Friday
P.P.S.  Congratulations for Vicki who won the Halloween panel and candy corn fabric from my last post. 

P.P.P.S.  I am also linking up with Jennie of Porch Swing Quilts for her Santa's Sweatshop linky party  (Twice-quilt and pillows).

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


This has been a crazy month, but I did finish three bags for my boys. 

I love how these show their personalities:  diggers for Monkey, Angry Birds for Panda, and a purple animal print for Cheetah.  What are they keeping in their bags?

Their own soccer balls.  (I love Monkey's tiny soccer ball!) 

This time I started with rectangles 18 x 21 inches and sewed the bag together completely.  Then I added the black casing for the ties.  This makes it so there is no raw edge rubbing against the ties. 

However, it adds extra bulk and the bag doesn't close as tightly. 

The idea for this casing came from the drawstring bag tutorial at A Quilting Life.  While I love having no raw edges, I'm not sure if I will do it again.  I do see lots more bags in my future.  They are great for organizing things.  I may make some for the boys winter mittens and hats. 

Plus I have started the quilt for my sister-in-law for Christmas. 

It's another twister quilt made my way.  I hope to finish this before Thanksgiving.  Then I will only have a table runner, two pillow cases, and a tree skirt left to make for Christmas.  It will be nice to do more sewing without deadlines. 

I have been so focused on getting ready for Christmas that I almost forgot that I started blogging in November 2013.  This has been a wonderful year for me, and I treasure the friendships I have made with other bloggers. 

So to say, "Thanks for making blogging worthwhile," I am going to have a giveaway.  :)  I actually bought two panels of Jeepers Creepers for a Halloween quilt and ended up using only one. 

So if you are interested in my other panel plus a yard of candy corn fabric, just leave me a comment telling me what your favorite holiday is.  This giveaway is open to anyone. I will keep it open through Friday and notify the winner through email. (So make sure I can reach you.)  I will then update this post. 

Update:  This giveaway is now closed.  Congratulations, Vicki!


P.S.  I am linking up with Lorna for Let's Bee Social.  (Link on sidebar). 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Some Super Sneaky Sewing Tips

As many of you know, I have been doing some super sneaky sewing to prepare for Christmas.  I thought it might be fun to share with you some tips or things I have learned through this experience.  ;)

If you are doing some super sneaky sewing then...
  • Start early.  You never know how much time you will be able to find when they are otherwise occupied.  (I purchased the fabric at the end of August and finished the first week in November.)
  • Have more than one memory card for your digital camera. My boys like to look at all the pictures in the memory and do so any time they see the camera lying around. I had to keep putting in the "family" card every time I took pictures of "sneaky projects."
  • You need to design the quilts after all the boys are asleep in bed.  They always want to see what you are drawing. 
  • You need a babysitter when you purchase the fabric.  Then you must hide it under a blanket in the back of the car when you pick them up.  Carry it into the house after they are all asleep. 
  • A room with a locking door is extremely helpful.  But you still need to find out of the way places to keep the special fabric.  (bottom of cutting table covered by a bolt of white fabric or under batting in the closet)
  • Cut out the fabric when they leave the house with daddy.  (Father/son bike rides are awesome.)
  • Be careful where you put the garbage.  (My boys have been known to look at fabric trimmings in there--especially minky.)
  • Be careful where you store the scraps.  I wrapped a plain fabric around all of the animal prints before putting them with the rest of my scraps. (It's that big tan section in the container on the bottom right.)
  • If you are cutting minky, have a lint roller handy.  It is needed for both the fabric and you.  (And remember to be careful with the garbage).  My boys can tell when I have been cutting minky. 
  • Work on projects as often as you can when they are all out of the house.  (Pillows were sewn when they went to Cabellas with daddy.)
  • Be prepared to put things up and quickly take them down from the design wall.  Labeled columns and chain sewing are your friend and extremely helpful. 
  • Work on other projects at the same time, even if you only like doing one WIP at a time.  It keeps them from wondering too much what is going on.  Choose small projects like bags and mini quilts. 
  • Baste quilts late at night when you are sure they are all in bed.  (Cheetah, at 12 years, is the worst at coming out for one more thing.) You may need to do this in your locked craft room, even if it is tight. 
  • It is okay to hide a project under another quilt.  (Especially if the child is home sick and watching a movie when you planned on quilting.)
  • Take advantage of times you can work on the projects away from home.  (I went to my first Free Sew at my LQS.)
  • If you decide to blog about projects along the way: ban your family from your blog, blog late at night, and be careful when they need to use the Internet on your ipad for homework. Because they might see a picture like this (which is why all the posts start with a picture of the backing):
  • Be prepared to make sacrifices.  My cutting table broke when I was lowering one of the side flaps after moving it.  At least it still fits my 24 x 36 inch mat.  (I have had the table for more than 12 years and it had already been put through a lot.  It was just the straw that broke the camel's back.)
  • Have a special place to store the finished quilts where they won't look (in a trunk I normally store scrapbook supplies). 
  • Find different ways to wrap them so it isn't obvious they are all the same type of gift.  (I'm still figuring out how to do this... any suggestions?)

All in all this has been quite the experience for me.  I loved every minute of it, but probably won't do so many large sneaky projects all before Christmas again.  I hope you also learned something from my experiences if you ever have to do some sneaky sewing (or at least had a laugh). 


P.S.  I am linking up with Let's Bee Social hosted by the amazing Lorna. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Wild About You: A Speedy Sneaky Finish

I can hardly believe that I have already finished my last sneaky sewing quilt. I was just hoping to have it finished by Thanksgiving, and I am totally shocked it is already done.  It feels incredible!  Now my only challenge is waiting until Christmas morning to gift them.  ;)

This last one is for Cheetah, who is getting a little suspicious.  I will admit that in my desire and hurry to get it done I did some sewing while the boys were hanging out with Dad at home.  Cheetah knew he was banned from the craft room.  I tried to throw him off track by telling him that I promised him something fuzzy and not necessarily a quilt.  So now he is thinking about fuzzy pillows

It was inspired by his love of... cheetahs. In case you don't remember, his first quilt, "Fuzzy Cheetah," looks like this. It is 42 x 60 inches with minky on the back, and he has been wanting a bigger one for a long time.

I started out with a plan for a simple patchwork quilt like this. 

It would have been cute, but the day before I went to go buy fabric I saw a HST quilt with animal prints made by Cynthia of Quilting is More Fun than Housework.  I immediately changed my mind, and decided to do HST instead.  Thanks, Cynthia! 

Here is my original fabric pull. 

I see a giraffe, leopard, zebra, crocodile, and something tigerish (I think it said Coffee Cat).  Plus a brown minky and Kona Black.  I decided to add the left overs of Leonard's quilt so I could use something more cheetah-like. 

At first I was going to center the diamond, but because I wasn't going to add borders, I wanted to place the diamond off center.  I know Cheetah likes things symmetrical, so back in October I drew a quilt that was off center (when we were coloring together as a family).  I showed him my quilt and asked what he thought.  He really liked it even though it was not perfectly symmetrical.  Sneaky, huh?  That meant I could do it my way.  Although my symmetrical-loving husband is still getting used to it.  :D

Because Cheetah is worse than his younger brothers at leaving his room 3-4 times after he has gone to bed, I basted the quilt in my craft room.  It was a tight fit, but I was able to do it after moving my cutting table. 

I really love the way it turned out.  I quilted it simply by stitching in the ditch on the black. 

I also quilted a plus in the center diamond, because the quilting seemed too far apart.

You can see the quilting better on the back.

I bound it by machine with the Kona Black.  There is a tan label that I didn't take a picture of.  I decided to call it "Wild About You" because it was made with love for him.  I'm sure that once he sees it he will let me know what I should have called it.  Such a critic.  ;)

I really hope this is grown-up enough that it will last him through his teenage years.  (He will officially be a teenager next year--eek!)  What do you think?

Quilt Stats #118
Name: Wild About You
Pattern: HST finishing at 6 inches
Fabric: From my LQS and Kona Black
Amount Used: 7 yards
Batting: Warm and White
Size: About 60 x 72 inches
Date Finished: November 2014
What I Learned:
  • Not all minky is as generous with the 60 inches wide.  I had to use the selvage and barely had enough, even though it was sewn with a generous quarter inch seam.  (This is the only one I've done out of eight like that.)
  • Frixon pens are awesome for marking the line on HST. 
I feels so free now that these are all done.  And my next project?  Drawstring bags for my boys.  Monkey keeps asking for his dumper quilt, even though I tell him it is for a bag.  He helped me pick out the fabric.  :)  Then I have some non-sneaky Christmas sewing to do. 


P.S.  I am linking up with Can I Get a Whoop Whoop (I am totally doing the happy dance) and Finish it up Friday. 

P.P.S.  I am also linking up with Jennie of Porch Swing Quilts for her Santa's Sweatshop linky party.