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quilts

Christmas Quilt and Christmas Pillow

One of my goals for Christmas 2016 was to finally finish my Christmas quilt.  I started it in November 2014 but I think I set it aside for all the other Christmas events going on that year.  In 2015 I was planning to finish it and made it to the quilting step.  I think this was the beginning of my quilting frustration.  As I was quilting, it was bunching on top.  I didn’t want to “ruin” the quilt so I set it aside until I could get it right.

christmas quilt wip fabric arrangement

So 2016 became the year of the finished Christmas quilt.  And sadly I still don’t have my quilting problem fixed but I did the best I could.  I finished the quilting in mid-December so I could enjoy the process of sewing the binding on while watching Christmas movies and shows with the kids.  And I really did enjoy it!

christmas quilt kate spain fabric

back of christmas quilt

back of christmas quilt close up

But the best gift I gave myself this Christmas was actually my Christmas pillow.  It happened because I gave myself the gift of time…I finished all my other holiday “stuff” a few days before Christmas so that I could enjoy those days however I chose.  When a Christmas pillow popped up on Instagram that I loved, I decided I could make it for myself.  I found my way to the raspberry kiss block tutorial by Wooden Spoon Quilts and started cutting.

christmas pillow lantern red background

Three days later, I had a Christmas pillow.  It took quite a bit of time over those three days that I normally wouldn’t put into something for myself.  But I’m glad that I did.  It’s January 14th and my pillow and quilt are the only Christmas decorations still out.  It was kind of hard to enjoy any quilt in the 80 degree days we had in December.  It also took me until yesterday to take some good photographs and today to throw the quilt in for its first wash and dry!

Quilt Details:  With the exception of the binding, all the fabric is by Kate Spain.  The quilt top was made from a layer cake of the Flurry line, which apparently I was hoarding since that came out in 2011.  My favorite fabric is the red and green Christmas lightbulbs from her Joy line that I used in the backing.  The red and white fabric that I pieced to the backing to make it big enough is from the Flurry line.  The binding is Crosshatch Sketch in Ruby.  The pattern is the Treasure Boxes tutorial from Traceyjay Quilts.

Pillow Details:  I used a mix of red, green and neutral fabrics in the pillow – a lot were leftover Kate Spain fabrics and Tinsel from Cotton & Steel.  You pretty much see the extent of my low volume collection here too.  The pillow size is 16×16 and I made a simple envelope closure for the back.  It’s not quite big enough but I had the perfect fat quarter for the job and I made it work!  I also didn’t quilt it.  I’m considering taking it apart at some point and quilting it but I happy the way it is for now!

I’ll consider this a very successful Christmas sewing season.  It was stress free and fun and I was able to be creative for me!

christmas quilt kate spain fabric flurry

 

quilts, school

Teacher Gift – Quilt with Student-Made Blocks

In November, our school hosts the Great American Teach-In where they invite parents and members of the community to be a teacher for a day and share about their jobs.  In 2014 I helped out when my husband’s aunt came as a nurse from Shriner’s Hospital and it made me think that I could share about quilt making the next year.  After much thought I decided to do it for the 2015 Teach-In.  Now that the 2016 Teach-In is only a couple months away, I thought I’d share how I went about this.

I thought a lot about how I was going to share my hobby with the students.  I wanted to show them all the different stages of a quilt going together but I also wanted it to be interactive.  I cut out a 6 1/2″ square for each student and ironed it to a piece of freezer paper to stabilize it.  Then I collected all my Sharpies and bought a few packages of Tulip fabric markers so the students could create their own design on their block.

Teacher Quilt with Student Designed Squares

 

 

I knew there was going to be quite a bit of preparation to get the fabric squares for two classes (my son’s and my daughter’s) together.  I also had a secret plan to add those student-designed squares to a quilt as a Christmas gift for each teacher.  I even cut blocks for the rest of the quilt so I could start sewing them together soon after the Great American Teach-In.

Then, I was told that I would be teaching to a combined classroom – both my child’s classroom and its sister classroom.  I was immediately overwhelmed with the idea of making 4 teacher quilts and decided my plan would have to change.  I still wanted all the students to be able to create their own fabric so I added about 40 more white blocks on freezer paper to my existing stack of 40.  And then decided to play it by ear.

Wall Hanging Quilt for Teacher

I shared and taught about making quilts to my son’s 4th grade classmates first.  They were all very interested in the process and how I put things together.  When they finally got their squares and the markers we were running out of time.  I needed the markers for 2nd grade but I promised I would send the markers back so they could work on their squares the next day during “fun Friday.”

2nd grade was a little tougher audience than 4th.  I sped through the process a little more quickly and then doled out the markers and fabric.  Some of the 2nd graders did not want to color on the fabric and others could care less what they put on the fabric so I decided that they could all keep their fabric squares and take them home.

On Friday afternoon my son brought home a fabric square from each of his fourth grade classmates and I decided that I would make a wall hanging with them for his teacher.  But not for Christmas as I had already moved on to table runners as teacher gifts.

Silver Polka-Dot Binding

Originally I planned to have this quilt finished some time in the new year but it always got pushed to the back burner.  I completed it in April 2016 and decided it would be a great gift for Teacher Appreciation Week.  I brought it in to class at the end of the week and the students gave it to their teacher.  The students were super excited to see their blocks in a quilt and their teacher will have a great memento of the 2015-2016 4th grade class.

Quilt Details:

Size: 25 x 25 inches

Sashing:  A solid grey I had on hand…any pattern I tried took away from the blocks

Quilting:  Straight lines, both vertically and horizontally in the sashing and horizontal lines at the top and bottom.

Binding:  Super fun silver polka dot – I will use this again for binding!  In the interest of time, I used a zigzag stitch to sew the binding down to the backing.  I also added a pocket on the back for hanging.

Backing:  (Not shown) Leftover grey and white sheet from another project

 

 

 

quilts

Beach House Remix Plus Quilt in Picnic Size

This quilt might look familiar – I first made this quilt for my sister-in-law’s 2nd baby.  Then I had enough leftover to make another quilt and I listed it in my Etsy shop where is it still available.

plus quilt in grass

Then, a few weeks ago, I received my first custom order!  My customer wanted the Beach House Remix baby quilt in a picnic sized quilt.  Luckily I was still able to find a fat quarter bundle of the fabric and I got to work!

 

I decided to increase the overall size of the blocks to make the quilt bigger.  The baby sized quilt blocks finish at 3.5″ square and I increased the block size to finish at 5″ square to get similar proportions.

two beach house quilts

I offered a few different options for backing fabric to my customer and she chose a wideback fabric from Angela Walters Drawn line (which is getting harder and harder to find).  Initially it wasn’t the option I was leaning towards but once I got the fabric, I realized how perfect it was for the quilt.  The wavy pattern reflects the easy going beachy colors of the front as well as the modern feel.

plus quilt with backing

When I was ready to put the quilt sandwich together, I realized that I didn’t order enough backing fabric!  So frustrating.  I wanted the wave pattern to be horizontal on the back but I didn’t think about the direction of the fabric in relation to the selvage when ordering, so I was about 5 inches short in length!  This is the second time I’ve made this mistake – for some reason it’s programmed backwards in my brain.  Good thing I like the backing so much because it will make an appearance on another, slightly smaller quilt.

 

I originally thought to go with a similar binding as the baby quilt but it didn’t work with the backing so I chose a simple Kona Navy.  It frames the quilt nicely and looks great with the backing.

beach house quilt at tennis courts

I brought the baby quilt and picnic quilt to my tennis match last week to take pictures.  The park was beautiful and after tennis I grabbed some shots.  My tennis partner helped me and at one point we thought we could hop over a little fence to one of the fields…bad idea!  It looked so simple, but hamstrings were tested.  We found an open gate on the way back.

beach house picnic quilt near water

 

I was very excited to send this off to my customer and she told me she has already had a picnic on it!  It was lovely to work with these gorgeous Cotton & Steel fabrics (again) plus a few others I added to get to the size I needed.

picnic quilt ready to ship

Quilt Stats (may contain affiliate links)

Size: 65″ x 75″

Pattern: Plus Quilt – modified from For the Love of George’s tutorial

Quilt Top Fabrics: Remix Beach House 16 Fat Quarter Bundle Cotton + Steel

Backing Fabric: Angela Walters Drawn Wavy in Storm

Binding Fabric: Kona Navy

Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose 100% Cotton Needled Batting

Quilting:  Straight Line Quilting on either side of the seams, vertically & horizontally

 

 

quilts

Farmer’s Wife Quilt-A-Long (Week 3)

I joined a quilt-a-long called for a quilt built out of sampler blocks in a book called The Farmer’s Wife 1930s.  In the book, there are 99 different blocks and there is a letter originally published in The Farmer’s Wife magazine associated with each block.  The letters are inspiring and so interesting to read.  The quilt-a-long (QAL) is being sponsored by blogger/quilter Angie at Gnome Angel.  There is a huge Facebook group associated with this quilt-a-long and it is fun to see all the different blocks put together every week.  Each week we work on two new blocks and there are two tutorials for each block.  If you’re interested in more info about the QAL, here is a good place to check it out.

So far, we have completed seven blocks and I have already learned new techniques as well as new tips to increase the accuracy of my blocks.  I joined two other online quilt-a-longs in the past but I wasn’t able to keep up with either of them.  I’m feeling hopeful on this one!  My plan is to have a rainbow quilt when I am finished.  (Which won’t be for about a year, as this is a year long QAL.)  For each of the blocks, I am mainly using one color and I’m planning to arrange them in ROYGBIV order when I’m finished.  I have a general idea of which blocks will be each color based on a diagram from the book.  I bought a fat quarter bundle of Tula Pink’s True Colors as a starting point and the rest will mostly be from my stash.  It’s fun to play with some of my older scraps and be able to incorporate them into this quilt.

This week, we worked on Belle and Coral.  (Each of the blocks has a woman’s name.)

Belle –

This is the first block that includes Y-seams.  Basically there were corners where you couldn’t sew straight across.  While this was my first time sewing a Y-seam, I didn’t have too much trouble with them.  They’re not perfect but they are good enough for me.  I fussy cut the patterned fabric and got the stars lined up pretty well although in retrospect maybe the patterned fabric should have been i the squares instead of the envelope shaped pieces.

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Coral –

Finally got into some pinks with this block although I didn’t realize how much my pile of pinks was depleted.  I made Casey an Easter dress out of the fabric in the star so it was fun to add that to the quilt.  I used Marti Michell templates for this block and they seem to make things much more precise for me.  As I was putting this together I wasn’t confident that it was going to be square or 6 1/2 inches and I was very happy when it turned out to be both.

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To see all of my blocks so far, check out my Farmer’s Wife page.

 

GnomeAngel.com
history, quilts

Baby Quilts Circa 1978

My mom still has all of my Cabbage Patch Kids and their clothes (most of which she made).  They have bunk beds and car seats and lots of clothes to wear.  They used to live in the attic in the home where I grew up and my sister and I would spend hours playing house with the Cabbage Patch dolls and a few other dolls.  We set up beds and cribs and used all the old blankets we could find to take care of the “kids”.  The girls came out of retirement when Casey was little and moved down to the cottage so Casey could play with them when she visits.  There was one year where she really enjoyed them but in the last few years, she gets them out for a few minutes and that’s about it.  This year, she was more interested in the little quilts that were with the dolls.

We’re not really sure who made the quilts and which one might have been mine and which one might have been my sister’s.  They look like a true patchwork of leftover fabric, in some spots bits and pieces were put together to get the square.  They are perfectly imperfect…the squares are not exactly square and they don’t meet up perfectly at the corners, but that completely adds to the charm.

I hung them on the clothesline to snap pictures, trying to get a shot before the wind blew them up and away from me.  It was a beautiful sunshiny day and I love how the sun shines through the seams.  Plus the scenery in the background is not too shabby either…high tide on that particular day and time.

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One quilt is a little more pastel than the other.  The other has some richer reds and greens and blues…maybe they thought I was going to be a boy.  Something makes me think the darker one was mine.  The pastel quilt is backed with a low volume floral print and the darker one is backed with a Holly Hobbie fabric.  There is no binding, just a zigzag seam around the outside.  They are about 30 by 30 inches.  They are quilted with ties.

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These quilts are just a few years shy of 40 years old and they’re just getting better with age.  The fabric is super soft and Casey brought one of them home to Florida with her for snuggling.  (It’s certainly not needed for warmth here right now!)  Like the button bag, it’s fun to imagine someone working on it a few decades ago and picking each fabric piece to add.

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