Saturday, May 28, 2011

Finished before deadline!

As usual, May has shaped up to be one of the busiest months of the year! I hope everyone is having a good spring!

This is a project that I started way later than I should have, but I didn't have a fully formed idea in advance, so I couldn't have really started earlier than I did...

Embroidered birthday message using Sublime Stitching's "Epic Alphabet" transfer pattern.

We are celebrating my Dear Aunt's 90th birthday this weekend. Her true birthday was a couple of weeks ago, but in the same fashion as Queen Elizabeth, we are celebrating on a different day to accommodate the masses (or at least the cousins!)

I was trying for weeeks to think of a gift idea, something that she would remember after we left (the reliability of memory is not something we take for granted, these days).

I decided on a pillow that could serve as something celebratory and useful. I stamped the letters on Sunday evening and madly stitched in the evenings, and through lunch hours and a quilt guild meeting, but I still had a letter or two unfinished when it was time to leave. So, I packed up my sewing machine and supplies and finished the pillow on the road.

I used Kona Bahama (I think) for the inner border and a very fun dotted fabric that I picked up after the guild meeting for the outer border. The letters were stamped on a remnant that I picked up at Joann's.

The back is Kona Snow and I quilted it in a grid pattern with 2" squares. I brought some Pigma pens so that everyone attending the party can write a message or an autograph on the back of the pillow.

This is the first pillow that I have made and it was a very fun project, except for the looming deadline. I enjoyed experimenting with color combinations and stitches on the letters and it was a good small project learning experience of quilting and constructing the pillow cover.

Since a lot of my 'hand crafted' gifts seem to wind up being 'belated', I am proud that I finished this one in advance, even though it came down to the wire.

Maybe for her next 'milestone' birthday, I will be more organized. Maybe.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Finishes! Finally!

This weekend, I checked some things off my list!

I revisited the Quilt of Frustration and now it is the Quilt of Snugly Goodness:

Before washing:
After washing:
I am really pleased at how it turned out. My goal was to practice machine quilting with the walking foot. I did get some practice using the foot, but didn't really practice quilting patterns. I have another idea that will allow me to practice on another project.

I also finished a pin cushion project that I started a few weeks ago. The one that I had been using was about 30 or 35 years old and quite dirty. My mom stitched it up from some scrap wool and stuffed it with hair clippings collected for her by the beauty shop. It had a halo of hair sticking out all around it and was pretty tacky. I didn't really notice how tacky it was, until I took it with me to a quilt guild meeting and saw it in another 'setting'.

So, I decided to make one from some wool that I picked up at an estate sale. One of these days I am going to do an embroidered wool quilt, so I thought I would try my hand with a small project.

I decided on kind of a sampler design, but I didn't think my usual method of hot iron transfer would net a good result, so I basted in some guide stitches and kind of went free hand, but with a guide.

You can see the light tan basting stitches in this photo.
I outlined a square in pencil, then made marks outside those lines at intervals and ran basting thread all around and connected the intermediate lines.

This was my pattern guide.
After I finished the embroidery, I quilted it with some batting and a lining for stability and stitched it up. I stuffed it with batting and fabric scraps, but it just didn't have the same 'grab' that I was used to, so I opened it back up and pulled the stuffing out and replaced it with some wool roving. The roving was just the ticket and now I have a new favorite pin cushion!

Plus, I learned a new stitch, the Colonial Knot. I don't think I will ever need to do another French Knot, again!

I also finished a Christmas gift - unfortunately, it was a 2010 gift, that is now horribly late, but better late than never, I think! And, I finished up a couple of pillow case dresses that I hope are the right size for two little girls that live near the mountains.

All that, just so I could get started on the blocks for a challenge that we kicked off at the last meeting of the Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild. We handed out charm packs at the meeting (generously provided by the Robert Kaufman Fabric Company) with the challenge to use every color in the pack (41 different ones) and only add two additional solid colors in whatever quantity required.

I have been searching for some inspiration for the last few weeks and finally decided on a design. I Sketched it out on some graph paper and made four blocks today. I was pleased and a little surprised that they turned out pretty much as I envisioned them. I am going to set a goal to get at least eight blocks done each weekend in order to stay on track for our July 'reveal'.

I feel good about wrapping up some loose ends today! Not as good as the President probably feels about finding Osama Bin Laden, but pretty good, just the same....