Saturday, January 31, 2015

Making Pants Bags

My friend Jennifer, of Glinda Quilts, makes darling drawstring bags and calls them pants bags.  She has even made one for me.  (Which I totally love, by the way.)

I have been wanting to try out her tutorials for a long time, and I finally got around to it.  My sweet Panda has been invited to a birthday party for a girl, and he wanted me to make her something.  He suggested a quilt, and I suggested a bag.  Luckily that was good enough for him.  ;)

Jen's first tutorial goes into more detail on actually sewing the bag.  Her second tutorial explains more how she does her double fold casing.  (Which I also love because it leaves no raw edges exposed.)  She says that you can start with any size square, and I put it to the test using ten inch squares.  Worked great!

I was able to make two matching bags in about an hour and a half.  I found the cute floral print in the clearance section of my local quilt shop, and chose to line it with Kona Bright Pink.  The way she does the casing makes it almost reversible.  (It would look better with the pink side out if I had sewed the opening by hand, but I wanted it to be strong.)

One of these bags is for Panda's friend, and the other is to keep on hand for another gift sometime. Or maybe for my sewing stuff...  What did panda want to give with the bag?

Girl Legos... with bunnies.  Lol.

Starting with the ten inch square made it similar in size to the drawstring bag I made with Jeni's Tutorial from In Color Order.  Here they are side by side.  (I made two of the purple ones,  keeping one, and giving the other to my niece.)

While I love the look with the ruffle at the top, I really think that the opening of the pants bag will be better for littler fingers.  It is nice and strong.  Plus the pants bag was faster to make because you don't box the corners.

Is anyone surprised by the fact that my boys think they need a bag this size?  (Monkey even tried to convince me to give him the extra pink one.)  Yeah, there are lots more of these in my future.  :D  Even my husband is jealous of the purple bag Jennifer made for me.  I need to make one for him that is bigger and green.


P.S.  I am linking up with Let's Bee Social.

P.P.S.  Thank you, Jennifer, for your excellent tutorials.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Playing with Scraps

After finishing my Modern Farmer's Wife, such a large project, is it any wonder that my next project would be a mini quilt?  It was so satisfying to make this mini start to finish in one afternoon.

I had been saving all the scraps from my Big Red Project since I finished it last year.

After I cut all the five inch strips from my string sections, I trimmed down whatever was left to the same width.

The mini sections ranged from 1.25 to 2 inches wide.  As it was my first time experimenting with improv piecing, I just sewed pieces together until I had about a five inch square.  Then I added strings around the sides like a log cabin.  I think it looks really neat, but Cheetah has let me know (more than once) that he doesn't like it at all.  It is much too random and not symmetrical enough for him.  ;)

Once I had used up all my little pieces, I used some larger scraps to add borders.  The first border finishes at one half inch, and the outer border finishes at 1.75 inches.

I have always wanted to try matchstick quilting, and thought this mini would be the perfect place to give it a shot.  I totally love the texture, although it makes it very stiff!  I quilted it on my small Pfaff using red Aurifil thread.

I just went up one row and down the next about an eighth of an inch apart.

It even looks really cool on a solid backing.  (Some random red fat quarter from my stash.  Probably left over from a pirate bandanna.)

The only thing I had to cut from yardage was the Kona Chinese Red binding.

The outer border was already a little bit of a tone on tone stripe, so the matchstick quilting blends in quite nicely.

Quilt Stats
Quilt Name:  Little Red
Pattern: Improv with strips of crumbs
Fabric:  Red scraps and Kona Chinese Red for binding
Amount Used: .75 yards
Batting: Frankensteined Warm and White
Size: About 16 x 19 inches
Date Finished: January 2015
What I learned:
  • I can do improv if I have a plan.
  • Matchstick quilting takes a long time (75 minutes for a mini!)
  • I can use tiny scraps (as long as they are already sewn together into strips)
All in all, this was a fun little project which I am now using as a small table topper.  Finished just in time for Valentine's Day.


P.S.  I am linking up with Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and Oh Scrap at Quilting is More Fun than Housework.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Modern Farmer's Wife: A Finished Quilt!

{A Picture Heavy Post}

I am so happy to say that my Modernized Farmer's Wife Quilt is finished!!!  I know I finished it in less than a month, but it seemed to take a long time.  I estimate that I spent over 65 hours actively working on it.  (More late nights than I would like to admit as someone who normally doesn't sew in the evenings.)  That doesn't include all the time that went into choosing the blocks, enlarging them, and writing up the posts for each.  (In case you missed it, I have included the sizes to rotary cut each block in my Modernizing the Farmer's Wife Series.)

Not only is this the most detailed piecing I have ever done, it is also the most intense quilting I have ever done (20 hours on one quilt).  So be prepared for a lot of pictures.  ;)

I quilted the sashing and cornerstones with wiggles and dogwood quilting.  (For more information on how I quilted it check out my previous post.)

I custom quilted each block with combinations of orange peel, dogwood, wiggles, loops, straight lines, and a few feathers.  Here are a few of my favorites.

This block used some of the smallest pieces and I love how it turned out.

This is four 6 inch "Contrary Wife" blocks.  I think I need to make a whole quilt with this block.

I could really show close-ups of every block, because I am thrilled with how it turned out.

I was brave and put the Kona Snow on the back, and it looks so neat.

The blocks look amazing on the back too.

I used the dark green for the binding.  It is my husband's favorite color and tones down the pinkness.

And here is a picture of the whole quilt!  :0)

Oh wait, did you want to see the front?

It turned out even better than I imagined or planned.

Quilt Stats #123
Quilt Name:  Modern Farmer's Wife
Pattern:  Enlarged and altered blocks from the Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt book.
Layout:  Inspired by Katie's Sampler in the book Vintage Revival Quilts.
Fabric:  Kona Snow and various Northcott marbled fabrics
Amount Used:  About 21 yards
Batting:  Hobbs 80/20
Size:  About 94 x 112 inches
Date Finished:  January 2015
What I learned:

  • It is good to stretch myself every once in a while.  
  • Taking breaks during quilting is very important with such a large project.
  • And lots more included in the various posts of my Modernizing the Farmer's Wife series.

This quilt now lives on my bed, and I love sleeping under it.

I will be decorating my bedroom around it.  Hubby has agreed to a light blue paint and installing new trim.  I will be making matching table toppers and pillows.  I can't wait! (But it will probably be a little while.)

Be sure to click on the Modernizing the Farmer's Wife Quilt link if you want to check out any of the other posts in the series.  And you may also want to check out Jodi's blog (Tales of Cloth). I found out after I finished my top that she is doing a year long quilt along enlarging the blocks in the Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt book.  Hers will be in Red and White.


P.S.  I am linking up with Finish it Up Friday and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop.  I am so happy with my first complete finish of 2015!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Modernizing the FMQ: Episode 11

Machine Quilting with my Tiara~

I have been having a lot of fun quilting my Modern Farmer's Wife quilt, and I have to say, "I love my Tiara!!!"  Okay, maybe I can calm down now.  ;)

I have so much room for quilting a large quilt with Princess El (short for elephant, because she's huge).  And I set up a lot of tables around me to support the weight of the quilt.  I actually sit in a little U-shaped space. My Koala chair helps a lot because I can set the height for whatever feels good at the moment.

So the first thing I did was try stitching in the ditch with a special ruler (this is the Handi Quilter Versa Tool).

It took way too long and was awkward.  I found that if I put my head really close to the machine that I could see well and stitch in the ditch pretty straight.

It went much faster, but it still took two hours, 1 large bobbin, and 28,300 stitches to stitch in the ditch around all the sashing and cornerstones.

After I stabilized the quilt, I used my Pfaff to zig zag around all the edges.

Then I quilted the sashing and cornerstones with wiggles and X's.

Half of the X was formed when quilting the rows, and the other half when quilting the columns.  This special ruler helped a lot.

Once the X was quilted, I used the Versa Tool to quilt a dogwood flower.

(The little black knob is part of my stitch regulator.  I always keep a finger or two on it while quilting.  Thanks go to Cheetah for taking the the two pictures above.)

I love how the cornerstones look with the sashing.

It took 4, hours, 2.5 bobbins, and 81,400 stitches to quilt all the sashing and cornerstones.

I decided to quilt each block individually using similar designs including:

Orange peel quilting...

More dogwood quilting with the Versa Tool...


Straight lines...

and any other combination.  ;)

When I needed a break from the quilting over the weekend, I did the handwork on the binding.  I figured if the edges were all quilted it wouldn't matter if I added the binding before the entire quilt was quilted.  (You can see my binding clips in the upper right hand corner of the picture.)

After 14 hours, 6 more bobbins, and another 118,900 stitches the quilting was finished.  All in all, it took 20 hours, 9.5 bobbins, and 228,600 stitches to quilt this.  That is the longest I have ever spent machine quilting one quilt!  (Although a lot less than the 200+ hours I spent hand quilting a similar sized quilt.)

Here is a sneak peek at the finished quilt.  I am waiting for some better weather and (hopefully) sunshine to take some nice pictures.

Now I want to redecorate my bedroom to match this bright, cheerful quilt.  Hubby has agreed to paint!  :D

Click on the Modernizing the Farmer's Wife Quilt link to go to the introductory post.  It includes links to all of the episodes sharing my ideas for ways to modernize the Farmer's Wife Quilt.  I have included the sizes to rotary cut the enlarged blocks in case anyone else wants to make a modernized farmer's wife quilt similar to mine.


P.S.  I am linking up with Let's Bee Social and Needle and Thread Thursday.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Modernizing the FWQ: Episode 10

Finishing the Quilt Top~

I have been working on modernizing the Farmer's Wife Quilt since January 1st.  I have enlarged many blocks, made repeats of some, and combined others so they all finish at 12 inches.  Then I added borders to the blocks.  After I got borders on all of the blocks, I played with the placement of them on my design wall.

There was barely enough room for all the fourteen inch blocks there, so I took over the family room.  :D  This is the largest quilt I have made since 2007.  It will finish about 94 by 112 inches.  I forgot how much bigger a queen/king is than a twin.

My layout is inspired by Katie's Sampler from the book Vintage Revival Quilts.  I love that my quilt combines the Farmer's Wife with one from Vintage Revival.

Luckily after moving some furniture and taking apart my modular sofa, I was able to lay out the entire quilt.  What a difference the sashing and cornerstones make!  Cheetah helped me move some of the blocks around to find this setting we both liked.

There was even enough room for my sewing machine cabinet.

I was able to get all the rows sewn together in one evening.  I used numbered flower pins to keep the rows in order, and moved them back into my craft room for pressing.

Here they are all nice and pressed and ready to sew.

I moved the sewing cabinet back into the craft room for this step.  I can't handle a messed up family room for long.

After twelve long seams, I had the top together!  I didn't want to risk taking it outside with all that cream, so here is an indoor picture.

And here are my helpers sweetly staying off the quilt (at least for a little while).

It is now all basted and ready for some custom quilting.   I decided to be brave and put Kona Snow on the back.  My quilting will really show.

Now that I have finished the top, I thought I would share some notes on fabric usage.

Kona Snow is my background.  I used about 2.3 yards to make the 30 blocks, 3.3 yards for the sashing, and 8.5 yards for the backing (three 102 inch pieces).

My light pink is a Riley Blake blender in bubblegum, and the rest of the marbled fabrics are from various Northcott fabric lines including Stonehenge and Toscana.  I used about 15 inches of each of the eight colors for the 30 blocks.  I used 14 inches of each of the eight fabrics for the block borders and cornerstones.  So purchasing one yard of each of the colors was a great idea.  I have about a quarter of a yard of each color left, but I like having the left overs without being too close.  (I only have 7.5 inches left of the light blue.)  I can use what is left for coordinating pillows and quilts or can use it for a scrappy binding.  I am still deciding.

Click on the Modernizing the Farmer's Wife link if you have missed any of the posts in the series.  It will take you to the introductory post with links to all of the episodes sharing my ideas for ways to modernize the Farmer's Wife Quilt.  I have included the sizes to rotary cut the enlarged blocks in case anyone else wants to make a modernized farmer's wife quilt similar to mine.


P.S.  I will be linking up with Let's Bee Social, Needle and Thread Thursday, Finish it up Friday, and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop to share this finished top.