Monthly Archives: April 2013

Christmas Once a Month Project #4 (but not really)

April 29th 2013
OK. I was going to call this Christmas Once a Month Project #4 but really that would be cheating since I made felt ornaments for the 3rd project. So let’s just say these are a continuation, okay? 
 
Materials: Felt, floss and needle, beads, ribbon (hot glue only for large piece assembly)
 
 
I really like doing the blanket stitch, more embroidery!
 
 
  I used this Mary Engelbreit wrapping paper as a guide.

 

 
This “Fried Egg Flower” may be my favorite even though it’s not too “Christmas-y.”
   
 
 I really wanted to add dimension to this candy cane with beads or something, but I had to stay true to the illustration. I just whip-stitched the red patches on and secured the long green stitch with a tiny one in the center. 
 
 
 
Here is the leaf which was fun to stitch. I used light green beads to blend, the background is dark enough. I used to 2 light and a medium green strands for the leaves.
 
 
The only one I haven’t done yet is the Gingerbread Boy.  I have made many of these over the years but none looked exactly like the one on the wrapping paper.
 
 
I really want to get into my Christmas Fabric Stash (second row) for the next project!
Over spring break I sorted it by quality, but I won’t name, names. They are good for tons of crafts!
 
(before sorting)
 
Grab that button on the right side bar (with the stockings) if you want to join or follow along!
I also made this, this and this for this event, in case you haven’t seen them.

It’s Finished!!!!

April 24th 2013
This was so satisfying to finish. I just really enjoyed putting this together, partly because I really like these fabrics and I got to try so many new things.  Not to mention this one is a keeper, even though the new kitchen is on the back burner again. No Problem.  For progress up until this post, click here.

One of the serendipitous things that happened with this little table topper was that I used a low loft batting that was not my preference because it is kind of poofy and thick. I used this because I wanted to use up whatever I had lying around (waste not, want not) but I know a flatter, needle punched batting is better for table toppers and wall hangings.

Initially, I was going to do this loopy “heart in a heart” (below) type quilting design (to add to the “Valentine” theme of it) but since the fabrics are so busy this totally did not work.

 
 So, I opted for the one heart per square option which, up until this time, had been un-thought of.  I was just thrilled at the result. The shadows created by dusk on a dimly lit room show off the design so well! What a pleasant surprise!

Well, take a looky here at how the quilting turned out… cool huh?
 

 

Here is the close up of the handquilting I did on The Love Note square. I just outlined the square and shadowed the heart on the inside a couple of times, and it has a soft puffiness to it. So pretty!
 
 
 
 
The binding was an easy choice. For one, I already had white pre-cuts! For another, the quilt was so busy I didn’t want to add to that, and I thought the white would tie together with the little white squares I added.
 
 
24 x 24 inches
 
 
 Which, I would like to mention, are virtually invisible because the eye is drawn to the embroidery, if we are talking about “movement” in the piece. : ) I do have somewhat formal training in art you know! (Even I had forgotten about that)

So what should I call it? The Valentine Quilt or The Love Note quilt?
 
 
Great fabric and chocolate cake, what’s not to love?
 

JUMBO Block for a Baby Quilt

April 19th 2013
I have struggled with the dilemma of big prints, little prints vs. large pieces, small pieces there must be a rule, but I have made my own. With some fabric, especially if they are not my favorites, I say cut them small let the colors play out!  Sometimes there is a beautiful pattern or design that I hate to cut , so I try to use it a way that will show it off the best. This calls for making a particular piece larger for that design. Occasionally, the whole collection is fabulous and whatever you do comes out beautiful. YAY!!

 

The current fabric collection I am working with for this new project is Dr. Seuss by Robert Kaufman. If you know anything about the books,  they can be hard to follow sometimes in terms of plot  and are a doozy for comprehension but great for phonics! Similarly, the fabric is loaded with busy colors, action and patterns and is quite an eyeful.  I have seen several interestingly designed Dr. Seuss quilts and I wonder why some people cut these fabrics so teeny tiny then sew the pieces together multiplying the busy-ness? I think this makes for a dizzy quilt, but that is my opinion on style.

 
Each block is about 16 inches (4 to make the windmill)

After much pondering and figuring and designing, I decided that, because these fabrics are so loaded with energy, I find that a simpler layout shows it in a way that makes it less distracting, yet still fun and Dr. Seussish.

 
So for this baby quilt, I am using a Jumbo sized block pattern that showcases the fabric but isn’t so crazy for an infant to stare at, perfect for a nursery. I was really excited because I hadn’t seen any ONE GIANT BLOCK quilts anywhere. Here I am, thinking I am on to something and can make a living, right? or enjoy myself while making a living, lol! Well, I just saw on Camille’s post about her new book that she has a giant block in it, (can’t wait to get it) I really admire her so I won’t fuss, (there is nothing new under the sun) and I didn’t copy (I’m a librarian, copyright issues!) because I didn’t see it until after I made mine and it’s a different block. So we’re good.

 
I have complemented the sides with simple white borders and used classic Dr. Seuss stripes for the name banner.  All over stippling around and across the name.
 
 

 
Another perk is that because the block size is huge, it saves so much time cutting and piecing for the quilter (me). Yet still offers all the basic design elements of a much loved quilt.
 
 
Putting it together and quilting it has been a doozy, only because my shoulder is not behaving. So I had to just rest the arm for a week from the sewing machine. Life happens!! I just did straight quilting coming out from the center of the “windmill” block.
 
Since I am a teacher and a mother, one of my favorite aspects, and one of my pet peeves in piecing was that all the words be right side up (and read left to right) so there will be no reading confusion for this baby. LOL! You can see that below.

 
 
Loopy and quirky quilting around the main block.
 
 
I really agonized over which print to use for the binding (around the edge), so much so, that I put it completely out of my mind until I needed it. Then, in a split second the choice was totally obvious! Use the rainbow to tie in all the colors of the block.

It measures about 36″ by 44″ 1 square (rectangular) yard.
 

 

As a consolation for the delay in the quilt finish, I made this matching baby tooth pillow.

 
 
 
Congratulations Jen!!!
 
Hey, jump over here to check out more baby quilts, I’ve joined the fun too!

 

Christmas Once a Month Project #3

April 13th 2013
If this is your first time dropping in on the Christmas Once a Month Project Posts, it all started over here you can also check out the button on the right margin (the one with the stockings) She has some projects to show  too. I am trying to catch up, so I am on project three now and project four is due on Monday, YIKES! Here is my first and second projects so far.
For the third project, I decided on doing these little ornaments which I have had in my mind for a long time. Finally, I have an excuse to make them and they really were a quick therapy session, because they were so easy to do, felt is fabulous! Originally, I was going to make them poly-filled (like little pillows) but that just didn’t have the look I wanted and was complicating the simplicity of it all.
Some of you might recognize these as Mary Engelbreit designs. And they are. She has really been an inspiration to me and so many other “wanna be artists.” She is very generous in sharing how she has followed her dream since she was 10 years old and has been true to her own style.  (You go Mary!!) I have a page called ME Inspired where I have made projects based on her art and it has been fun to do. These ornaments are more for that category.

Here I am with her in 2009 I went to her Home Companion Workshop in St. Louis. (Thanks to the hubby’s insistence that I meet my “inspiration”) But I digress…..

Here is the wrapping paper by her that I used. It’s way too pretty to wrap something in for someone to just tear it up (no offense) but I could use this to decoupage and many other craft ideas, I am sure.

Here is a close up of the tree. I used red sequins and a yellow glass bead for each of the FEFs (Fried Egg Flowers)

and 3 strands of 2 colored green floss for the leaves and dotted the tree
with white glass beads and button star.

and a piece of Rick Rack for the trunk, just like the picture.
For the Santa cookie, I used baker’s twine which is much thinner than what the picture depicts but that’s what I had that was similar. I just attached with a small stitch every half inch or so.

I also scattered green glass beads here and there like the picture.
My embroidery was not as flowy and cursivey as I would have liked since I was doing it in a jiffy  (literally, I didn’t even sit down) It looks a little jerky so close up!
 I might try this again to improve the embroidery: one to keep and one to share!
 I only used hot glue to join the top felt to bottom outline felt.

My plan was to do more but time did not allow.
Maybe I’ll add a couple for Monday ; )

The Love Note Square Finished

April 5th 2013
For starters, I think I am going to change the name of this quilt. For one, the Valentine Quilt has red and pink but really nothing else that is “valentine-ish” except for The Love Note. So, even though it started out as the 9 square block Valentine Quilt. I think The Love Note Quilt conjures up more sentiment, don’t you think?  Here it is in stages: Part One, Part Two.

Here is how the actual embroidery went.
CHAIN STITCH: Must be continuous since they link, or it’s quite the challenge to get back in the loop.
DOTS: Not just to “trace” letters but to determine even stitch separation. 

Actually, I did start “doodling” with the thread (backstitched)  much as I would have with a paper and pen, despite trying to draw out a plan, sometimes you just gotta experiment your way through.

 Added pearl detail for contrast, almost melted it while pressing. TIP: Iron on the backside!!

Detail
PROBLEMS:
1. Fraying ends
2. Knots of extra, unlooped thread on the back
3. Possibility of catching fabric between stitches.

I love this shadowy shot! (unfinished)
The back, because I would like to know how yours looks.

Done! First attempt. It has charm. Not perfection.

The Love Note, strategically placed in the corner … you’ll see why.
Hard to see, I know. But it order to pin the “sandwich” [front/batting/backing] together,
I tape the backing fabric to the floor so it doesn’t “tug” when I pin and create puckers or folds on the back while quilting it (especially with this low-loft batting which is still pretty puffy).
I usually get a better result this way.  I had this batting already, so I decided to use it.

I use a bone folder to stretch out from the center before I pin the layers together about 2 inches apart.

I have a few ideas about the quilting pattern I want to do, but the actual  Love Note square I’ll quilt by hand, it’s only right. So until next time…..