Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Plus Squared Quilt


It's that time of year again!  Amy from "Amy's Creative Side has been hosting the semi-annual "Blogger's Quilt Fest" for more than a few years now.  It's the best virtual quilt show that I've found!  Thanks Amy!

A few months ago, my oldest son asked me for a new quilt.  It's been a few years since I last made him one, so I was more than happy to oblige!

Last winter he started swimming competitively for his high school, then a club over the summer.  It turns out he has quite the ability! 

But it all paid off when he placed first in his district swim meet in the 200 yard freestyle, earning him a trip to the Oregon state finals.  He was also good enough to get an alternate place in 2 relays that also went to state.  He placed 2nd in district in the 400 freestyle.  Only the 1st place finishes go to state, but his personal best time was faster than at least 1 of the 12 finalists.  He placed 12 out of 12 in the state meet, but for a kid who has only been swimming competitively for less than 2 years, we couldn't be any prouder!

My official name for his quilt, is "Plus Squared", but the subtitle is "Gee, you sure can swim!" ;-)  I made it in his high school team colors.

Because I like to hear other people's stories of where they get their inspiration, here is the picture that led to this quilt design.  I stumbled across it around Christmas time, and filed it in my "idea folder".

My son is also good at math, and I just happened to have a few blocks left over that went perfectly on the back.

The quilting took much longer than the construction, but I'm very happy with how it turned out. You can see it best on the back.  Now that I feel somewhat competent at free motion quilting, I am preferring solid colors on the back more and more, as it really highlights the quilting.

It's a 70" by 86" quilt, using a combination of Moda "Comma" fabric, and Robert Kauffman Kona Solid Forest green and curry yellow.  I used a variegated Coats and Clark thread for the quilting, and Kona black for the binding.

It was a joy to make this, as it was to see my son succeed and do so well in a sport he loves.

Please look at the link above to see other wonderful quilts made by the blogger community!!

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Western Tanager Mini Quilt


It's that time of year again!  Amy from "Amy's Creative Side has been hosting the semi-annual "Blogger's Quilt Fest" for more than a few years now.  It's the best virtual quilt show that I've found!  Thanks Amy!

I made this paper pieced mini quilt as a block in Joanna's (of Shape Moth) Forest Quilt Along that she hosted last Spring.  It is her "Eurasian Jay" pattern that I tweaked a little and changed the coloring to turn it into one of my very favorite birds, the Western Tanager.

Quilting this was a lot of fun.  I turned all 6 of the blocks that I made into either mini quilts or a pillow, all of which reside in our living room. They were just too pretty to fold up and tuck away into a closet.


The quilt is 16 inches by 16 inches, and took just as long to make as many of my much larger quilts.

Please look at the link above to see other wonderful quilts made by the blogger community!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pouches and Purses




Here are a few pictures of my latest endeavor.  I've been busy sewing up lots of lovely pouches and purses made with wool from our local Pendleton Wool Mill.  I don't know why I didn't start making these long ago.  As with many things, sometimes the most obvious thing is beyond our vision.  It took the closing of our local quilt store to force me to expand my sewing horizon.  These lovely purses are a joy to make, and are proving to be much more popular than quilts or quilted goodies.  I am still getting some patchwork in here and there, but for the first time in years I am actually making a wee bit of money selling the wool purses and such on my Etsy site, as well as to local friends, family, and shop owners.  I have even been in contact with a small business counselor to explore possibly making something out of this!  Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Quilt For My Son


A few months ago, my oldest son asked me for a new quilt.  It's been a few years since I last made him one, so I was more than happy to oblige!

Last winter he started swimming competitively for his high school, then a club over the summer.  It turns out he has quite the ability!  If I've been a bit quiet here, it's partially because I have spent much of the last few months going to high school swim meets, driving his to and from practice, and taking extra trips to the grocery store to fuel the extra calorie needs that swimming for a few hours a day requires.

But it all paid off when he placed first in his district swim meet in the 200 yard freestyle, earning him a trip to the Oregon state finals.  He was also good enough to get an alternate place in 2 relays that also went to state.  He placed 2nd in district in the 400 freestyle.  Only the 1st place finishes go to state, but his personal best time was faster than at least 1 of the 12 finalists.  He placed 12 out of 12 in the state meet, but for a kid who has only been swimming competitively for less than 2 years, we couldn't be any prouder!

My official name for his quilt, is "Plus Squared", but the subtitle is "Gee, you sure can swim!" ;-)  I made it in his high school team colors.

Because I like to hear other people's stories of where they get their inspiration, here is the picture that led to this quilt design.  I stumbled across it around Christmas time, and filed it in my "idea folder".

My son is also good at math, and I just happened to have a few blocks left over that went perfectly on the back.

The quilting took much longer than the construction, but I'm very happy with how it turned out. You can see it best on the back.  Now that I feel somewhat competent at free motion quilting, I am preferring solid colors on the back more and more, as it really highlights the quilting.

It's a 70" by 86" quilt, using a combination of Moda "Comma" fabric, and Robert Kauffman Kona Solid Forest green and curry yellow.  I used a variegated Coats and Clark thread for the quilting, and Kona black for the binding.

It was a joy to make this, as it was to see my son succeed and do so well in a sport he loves.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

NASA Star Block Challenge


If you haven't heard of Astronaut Karen Nyberg sewing the first quilt block in space, I thought I'd tell you about it!! She is a quilter, and on a recent trip to the Space Station brought along some quilting supplies and sewed up a start block.  She even took a video of it.

Back on Earth, she decided to take it one step further and has invited quilters to send in a star quilt block to be sewn into a quilt that will be displayed at the 2014 Houston Quilt Festival.  Here's the link for all of the information.  There's also a link on that website for the YouTube video of her space quilt block.

I had some lovely space batik in my stash that I knew would be perfect.  Since I wanted the dark fabric to be the highlight, I designed a simple paper pieced star that hopefully looks a little like a sun.

The deadline is August 1st, so there is more than enough time to make up a block and send it in!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

More Snow Dyeing Results


All of our snow is long gone, but before it all went away I made a few more batches of snow dyed fabric.  I thought I'd share the results with you.  I hope you find it as fascinating as I do.  I'm already planning on experimenting with crushed ice dyeing, now that Spring is right around the corner.

I had a few yards of Kona white (maybe even Kona "snow") in my fabric stash.  I decided to give it a try, this time, separating the colors a bit more to see how each one reacted individually.

From left to right, there is a piece with all 3 colors, then a "wasabi green", a (mostly) gold, and purple on the very right.  As you can also see, the colors really bled onto the white.  With the original Pimatex cotton, the white stayed crisp and white, and the patterns were more distinct.

Here's a close up.

I also decided to dye a few scraps I had of white print on white fabric.  One pattern did quite well, the other became almost indistinguishable. For grins, I also threw in some cotton yarn to dye too, as seen drying in the picture below.

Finally, I tried out some 200 thread count white muslin that I was able to buy at a local store. The tight weave had my hopes up. This time I used mostly green with a few spots of purple.

But in the end it seemed to take up the least amount of dye, and showed the least "crisp" design in the fabric.  Neither the Kona nor the muslin was "PFD".  I don't know if that really makes a difference, as I prewashed them all, but for now, I'll be sticking with the Pimatex PFD cotton, and have already ordered a few more yards and some new dyes to play with.

The very first picture at the top of this blog post, shows all 3 together, from top to bottom, the Pimatex, the Kona, and the muslin.

I've also put a few fat quarters of the original batch of Pimatex cotton in my Etsy shop to see if there's any interest in it from buyers.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Olympic Rings Quilt Finished!


The Winter Olympics was exactly what I needed to motivate me to finish the quilt that I started 2 years ago, during the Summer Olympics.  I stitched on the binding this morning, just as the last of the snow is melting. It's 54" by 72"... the perfect size for snuggling under while we watch the Olympics on TV.
I decided to quilt laurel leaf wreaths in each of the rings.  As the legend goes, Laurel leaf wreaths were put upon the victor's heads during the original Olympics in ancient Greece.  The rest of the quilting is my attempt at flames, from the Olympic torch.  I think it was so neat to see it go into space during it's voyage to Russia.
I decided to use a black and white variegated thread in the black top and bottom borders, and LOVE the effect!  I'll be using this technique again!

The back is simple, just some coordinating solids I had.
I love the way the rings and other quilting shows on the back.  As I've gotten better at free motion quilting, I like solid colored backs more and more, as they show off the quilting, rather than hide it.

I hope you are enjoying the Olympics as much as I am.  Call me crazy, but my favorite events are the Half Pipe Snowboarding events, as well as the Mogul Skiing.  I find them mesmerizing.  I think my own background in gymnastics is what makes them appeal to me, as they have so many wonderful flips and twists.  What's your favorite event of the Winter Olympics?

Another totally off topic question I have is what camera do you use?  My point and shoot has bit the dust, and my son's who I've been using (same model, a Cannon Powershot), is following suit.  I took all of these with my ipad mini.  It's OK, but not great.  I really want to save up and get a nice one next.  Thanks for any advice!