Monday, May 25, 2015

Design Wall Monday

Happy Memorial Day!  On my design surface is the doll quilt swap project from last week.  I survived assembly, with the paper piecing messy aftermath :)

I had considered reducing the project to only two blocks since it was looking rather busy, but in the end I just rearranged the blocks to a different layout and felt that calmed it down a bit.

The quilting design is always a bit of a roadblock to me.  However, I knew I wanted to avoid the very thick intersection in the center and chose a motif to use in each of the blocks. 

This is "Friendship Blossom", from a book I just bought called 501 Quilting Motifs, by Quiltmaker magazine.  Lots of great designs of every sort, with helpful illustrations of the different ways the motif can be used for either hand or machine quilting.  Time being short, and my hand-quilting skills not being great, I opted for machine quilting.  For marking the light fabrics I used my water soluble blue marker, and for the dark fabrics a yellow chalk pencil.  I've now quilted all the motifs and am doing some straight line quilting in each block.  Next decision is what to use for binding, and what to put on the label. This project needs to get in the mail by Thursday, so decisions need to turn into action quickly! 

Also completed this week was the stitching closed all the the pillow butts for my outdoor patio set.  I love how they turned out and they sure brighten up the plain brown cushions. 

My daughter and I even found an umbrella that matched pretty well with the blue background--it is really more of a teal blue, very richly saturated.  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

This will be a busy week--mainly due to starting training for my new job.  Yep, I took a part-time job as a scribe for a family practice group and will be working with a single doctor.  That will be a welcome change. And when I called a doctor I worked for to let him know I was using him as a reference, he wanted to hire me back as his office manager.  I'll start that in several weeks once my training is complete.  So I'll have two part-time jobs, both local.  No more commuting for me.  I felt like I hadn't lived in my own town for two years with my prior job, and with this one, I can even come home for lunch, yay! 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Design Wall Monday

On my design surface today is a project that finally is using a special gift.  Four years ago I won a giveaway on Kate Spain's blog.  She sent me a personal note along with two mini charm packs and I have hoarded them for all this time.

Finally I have broken open the pack of Central Park mini charms and used them!  I found a really fast and easy project at Moda Bake Shop, a pillow designed by Corey Yoder called Scattered Squares, which used only one mini charm pack and some background fabric. 

I'm liking it so far, nice and bright and cheerful.  I stopped at this point, however, because I thought this might also be a great table runner, using some wider strips of white between each row.  So now I am pondering that idea. 

I'm also working on blocks for a Doll Quilt Swap I'm participating in again, from Lori of Humble Quilts, using reproduction fabrics.
A guild member gifted me these 1/4 yard cuts that she got in a block of the month kit and did not want. Her daughter, another guild member, says she will give me hers too. Yay for me!  I love all of these.  I'm curious why there was only one green favorite color. 

I picked these prints from the stack and added the red from my stash.  The pattern I'm using is from an old Quiltmaker magazine from 2006, called Simple Simon.  It is a take on Robbing Peter to Pay Paul, using straight lines. 

Foundation piecing is not my favorite but with only three pieces, it is doable.  I still  have to be really careful when placing the fabrics on the paper copy.

I'll make 16 block units and then decide whether to set them all scrappy or with coordinating edges. 

See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times

Monday, May 4, 2015

Design Wall Monday

On and off my design surface are a couple of projects that have been awaiting their turn to leave the WIP list.  First, I completed two additional placemats for a full set of 6 for our dining room table.  They were promptly used last night and got christened with BBQ sauce from our rib dinner :)

 The colors are a bit off in the photo but they are nice and bright for spring and summer.  I again used my three-step zig zag stitch for some modern quilting.

I bought this beautiful botanical print of outdoor fabric at JoAnn's a few months ago to make small pillows for the patio set.  Although it probably ended up costing me about the same per pillow as buying some ready-made on sale, no one else will have these!  My sister helped by cutting out all the pillow pieces while I was working on the placemats.

 I finished all the edges and backstitched all the corners to hopefully extend the life of the pillow.
Then I spent an amusing 10 minutes trying to stuff the first pillow form into the side opening.  Eventually I got it in there but it was a wrestling match. These are 12x16" pillow forms from JoAnn's--also bought on a good sale.

I switched to a slightly larger opening on the end for the remaining pillows and even ended up taking out some of the stuffing from the forms to keep the wrestling to a tolerable amount.  Hindsight was that I should have allowed a seam allowance of at least 1/4".  That's a pile of pillow butts awaiting needle and thread :)

Our guild is making placemats for homebound seniors as one of our charity outreach projects, and at the last meeting I picked up a kit to sew and quilt.  There is a pocket for the silverware, a fun addition. The polka dot binding was my contribution.   I also have a quilt kit to baste, quilt and bind before next week's meeting, as well as a Round Robin assignment, and another challenge placemat to design and sew.  Finally, I joined Lori's Doll Quilt Swap again and have picked out a pattern from a very old Quiltmaker magazine.  This one is foundation pieced but only has three pieces.   Hopefully by the end of this week I'll get the job I'm interviewing for.  In the meantime, there is plenty to do in the sewing room!

 See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.  

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sewing Room Work

In between looking for a new job, there is plenty to keep me busy in the sewing room.  I promised DD Erica some Euro pillows at Christmas and it has taken me until now to get to them.   I wanted to try this idea I pinned some time ago.  I started with a linen-cotton chunk of yardage purchased on clearance at JoAnn's several years ago. Euro pillows are big so I was able to get the fronts and backs only out of the piece I had.  I pin basted the fronts to a muslin backing.  Of course I had to wash and iron the muslin before using it, but that was easily done in the sink.
Quilted with a walking foot about 1" apart with an ombre quilting-weight thread. 

I have no recollection of buying this thread but sometimes things in clearance bins end up here!

Zigzagged the edges to prevent fraying and to keep the quilting intact.  I just used my walking foot and the same ombre thread since I'm lazy.  Now on to the big stitch quilting.
This Presencia ombre embroidery floss I bought at my local fabric store.  I got three skeins and used a full skein on half of the 26" front panel of one pillow!  Today I'll swing by the shop again to see if there is more. I only need one skein to finish both pillows.  I'd rather not have to order it.

Closeup of the quilting design--I chose to put only one row of stitching every other section to cut down on the finishing time.  I altered the stitch length a little to help differentiate it.

I think it looks good on the muslin backing too :)   Portable work is nice to have.  Last month I started working on a cross-stitch pattern I bought more than two years ago, stitching during lunch hour.  And as I'm clearing my horizontal surfaces in the sewing room, there are more half finished projects unearthed.  So I'll be very busy until I get paid work.  But there was still time to have lunch with my favorite 14 month old last week:

The fountain was the most amazing thing he had ever seen.  Too adorable for words.  He was available for babysitting a couple of days ago, and will be again on Saturday.  Love that!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Another Finish

The modern baby quilt my daughter and I picked out fabrics for at Superbuzzy so many months ago is finally finished. 
The pattern is Scout, by Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew.  One exception to her pattern is the top and bottom borders. My daughter likes the floating look.

I used cream, olive green, and navy thread to free-motion quilt different curvy designs I made up as I went along. I left most of the light fabrics and the acid yellow and silver Cotton +Steel print unquilted. 

After burying about a hundred or two threads, the binding and label were attached.  The quilt is having its first bath now and I'll deliver it to my daughter shortly.  I worked on the quilting last weekend at our Modern Quilt Guild Meet-Up.  My sister helped me spray baste the layers.  We had a great time sewing together--a couple of dozen members--as well as eating, making selvage bags, and winning wonderful goody bags.  It is such a pleasure to sew with friends!

Next on the list is a bunch of pillows.  I promised some Euro pillows to other daughter Erica at Christmas, and I have 6 pillows to sew for my patio chairs.  I want to get these all done in the next week.  Given that I just unexpectedly got laid off on Tuesday, I should manage that easily.