Thursday, March 30, 2006

Flannel Quilt Progress

My flannel quilt is coming along nicely. I completed sewing all the squares and strips together a couple of days ago, and today I pin basted it all together. I chose Warm and Natural batting and I'm excited to begin quilting now. I'm also nervous to begin. I guess I'm afraid that I'll mess it up. I plan to make a little sandwich of the fabric and batting to try out the quilting stitch before I begin. That way I can be sure that I have the stitch length and thread tension correct. I bought some of the red horseshoe fabric today for the binding. I think that will make all the red "pop" and be pretty cute.



Nothing to do with sewing: Seattle Mariner's opening day baseball game is Monday at 2:05pm. I have tickets in hand and cant wait to be there. Hooooray!! It's time for baseball once again.


Monday, March 27, 2006

Flannel Quilt - Retro 1950's Cowboy and Indian Print "Johnny and Buck"

Yesterday I finally cut out the second half of the squares for the flannel quilt. Once cut, I couldn't help but lay them out in order to be sewn. As one thing usually leads to another, next I had to sew a strip together to see how it was going to look. Six strips later, I couldn't resist sewing the strips together to see even better how things were shaping up. A break for dinner and then there I was in front of the sewing machine again. This time sewing the other six strips. They went together quickly, because the flannel sort of stuck to it's self and there was no slipping and sliding of the fabric as I was sewing. I love sewing on flannel!! There are 20 different fabrics in this quilt, the photo only shows 11.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Applique Class Project

Working on my applique homework today for class on Saturday. I woke this morning and realized that I haven't done a thing on it all week, so lots to do today and tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Churn Dash Quilt Fabric

I was on my way to play Bingo today, and made a side trip to the The Calico Cat quilt shop in Auburn (Washington). I didn't allow enough time to look around as much as I would have liked, so I'll go back soon. But I did pick up 3 more fat quarters for my "Dash to the Finish" quilt, and now I have all 20 that I need. (I posted a pic of the pattern down a few posts) I'm really anxous to get started on this one, but I need to finish the Johnny and Buck quilt first.

Here's how far I am on the Johnny and Buck quilt. It's flannel and I have half the squares cut. Baby is due the end of May. I'd better get busy, don't cha think?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

My First Applique

I took my first class for Beginner Applique yesterday. There's another class next week. I knew nothing about applique going in, and I can't believe how much I learned in 3 hours.

The flower in the center of this block is applique - the fabric was hand sewn on top of the fabric. I love doing hand work, so I really enjoyed doing this. The little flower was just a practice piece on some inexpensive muslin, to learn the technique. But I couldn't just toss it aside when I was done. After all, it's my first and I want to save it - so I designed a little quickie block using the same fabrics and sewed it up this afternoon.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Picking Threads, etc.

Yesterday, I spent about an hour picking and clipping loose threads from the back of my quilt, getting it ready to go to the quilter. I'm only half done. I can honestly say this is my least favorite part of making a quilt. Very tedious. But, once done, it's ready to go. I cut and seamed the backing yesterday, so now all I need to do is make the drive north to drop it off at the quilter. While cutting the backing, I went ahead and cut the strips for the binding too, so I'll be ready with that when I get it back.

Today I have my block of the month class, and I'm looking forward to seeing what our next block looks like. I have my fingers crossed for a new color of fabric.

Also today, I am planning to pre-wash some fabric for the hand applique class that I'm taking Saturday. I've never done any applique, so this should be a real learning experience for me.

The squares for Baby Jones' quilt are still only half cut. I need to get busy on that or he will be born before it's done. I'm making it out of retro print flannel and the colors are soft and sweet. It makes me smile to work on it. :) note: Baby Jones is my great-grandson, due to be born the first of June.

I bought a quilt pattern yesterday that I will use for the fat quarters I began collecting at Expo. I picked up 5 more the other day while at the fabric store, and need to find 7 more that I like. Then I will have the 20 that I need. Here's the pattern:



It's a Debbie's Creative Moments pattern, "A Dash to the Finish". Finished size is 57" x 68". The fabrics that I'm using are mostly Moda, with lots of greens, and some pink and rust. I may add some blue with my next choices. Most of the prints are florals.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

A Finished Apron!

Mom's reversible apron is finished. It wasn't as easy as I expected, but I had fun with it anyway. I even managed to sew the ties on correctly the first time, so that they matched the side of the fabric they were sewn to.



Here's a close up of the fabric. It's Champaigne Gardens (Cream Small Calico & Calico Stripe) by Faye Burgos for Marcus Brothers. The pattern is Mary Mulari's Reversible Apron (www.marymulari.com).

Friday, March 10, 2006

Continuing on with the apron

I'm going slow but sure on Mom's apron. I wanted to use one of the decorative stitches on my new machine, so I tried a few on scraps and picked the one I liked the best. Instead of the usual top stitch around the edge of the pockets, I used a stitch that overlapped from the edge of the pocket onto the fabric of the apron. It left a cute decorative stitch and the edge sewn down flat against the apron. Very cute!


This is the stitch that I used. I have never taken any classes on machine applique, but I have a feeling that it's probably done very much like this.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

An Apron and a Rag Basket

I spent the morning cutting out a reversible apron that I'm making for my mom. It's pink and lavendar with tiny little rosebuds. I'm going to Oregon for a week, so I'll probably take my sewing machine with me and work on the apron and some piece work for a quilt project I started a few days ago.

This is a rag basket I made a few years back. It sits in my sewing room, holding a Christmas cactus. I've made several of these baskets and given them away to friends and relatives. The strips are torn so that the edges are ragged, and then the fabric is wound around cotton rope in such a way that it all ties together, with a fabric stitch from current row to previous row. These are fun and fast to make, although not inexpensive. They use a lot of fabric.

Monday, March 06, 2006

My Sewing Room

This is the area in the guest room that I've set up for my sewing. It's pretty bare bones at this point. I'd love to have one of those Koala sewing cabinets. And a cutting table. But all in good time.
I keep the ironing board set up at the end of the bed, but when company comes and uses the guest room, I hide it away in the closet to give them more room.
The opposite wall holds a chest of drawers and chair for guest use. At the moment I'm pulling the wood chair over to the sewing table, but I'll be shopping for an adjustable sewing chair soon.

Sew Expo

Having spent a total of 10 hours in 2 days at Sew Expo this past Friday and Sunday, I can't let it slip by without sharing about it here. This was my first time to attend, although it takes place right here in my own back yard (Puyallup, Washington) and is 24 years old. Now that I'm back into sewing and enjoying it so much, I was encouraged by friends to attend Expo and I'm so glad that I did. With over 80 seminars & workshops and 200+ vendors, there is too much for one person to see all of, but certainly more than enough to keep you busy for many many hours. Because almost everything was new to me, there wasn't a vendor booth there that I didn't find something interesting in.

I experienced a number of 'firsts' for myself. I bought my first piece of fabric with absolutely no idea what I was going to do with it, but it was just too pretty not to own. (I've been told yes, that's the way to play the game *smile*) I bought my first 'fat quarters' (I just recently learned that they are not a quarter yard cut off the bolt, as I had assumed, but a half yard cut that has been cut down the middle to make a piece about 18" x 22".) And I bought my first batiks.

I also began my 'stash'. I've just come to realize what that term means in quilting. Once the quilting bug has bit you, you fall in love with color and design, and when you see a fabric that you love, you just have to have it. And so it goes on the shelf, waiting for that perfect project to be used in. These piles of waiting fabric are called a quilters stash. Mine is very tiny, but a start. I have seen photos of quilt rooms where the stash is 8 bookcases full of fabric!! I don't plan to ever get that carried away with it all, but I expect that my stash will grow with each trip to the fabric store. Here's my bookcase in my sewing room as of this morning.



And a close up of that beginning stash. Some of these fabrics are for a specific project, but some is just because I had to have it. And I'll think of how I'll use it later.

If you've hung in here this far with me, thanks for sharing my interest with me. I'm just having so much fun with all this. First thing out of bed this morning, I found myself in my sewing room folding fat quarters that I purchased yesterday. Who'd a thunk it! *grin*

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Knitting and Dishcloths

I love to knit. I taught myself how, with some help from my mom, when I was about 14. I've tried a few sweaters, and baby stuff, but I'm never happy with the way I sew it together, so I pretty much stick to simple things. Here's a pic of a dish cloth that I made recently. And the beginning of one I just started. I like to work on these while I watch TV.

First Quilt Top

This is the upper corner of the quilt top that I made during my beginning quilt class. It's my first quilt and I'm very pleased with how it turned out. If I had it to do over, I would choose a different highlight fabric (the light green squares) so that it included more of the colors within the border. But, again, this is all about learning at this point, and that's just what I did with this quilt top: learned a lot. My points turned out fairly well, and I'm happy with that. The backing will be the plum color of the small border before the 8" border. (note: the green in the pieced portion of the quilt really does match the border well, but for some reason the camera distorted the colors.)