Friday, March 31, 2017

A quilt made of happiness

Hi everyone!  How was your week?  Mine was very full, as usual, and full of lots of noise, hammering, and the descent of the pollen monster.  I've had a headache for days.  But it was still a pretty good week, with the end of some major home projects in sight.

I hope you're all in the mood for some happiness today, because I have a very happy finish to share!  You may recall that our daughter got married a year ago--really, it's been a year!  Hard to believe.  For their wedding present, I made them a quilt! (Of course.)  After hundreds of hours of work, I was finally able to give it to them, so now I get to show it to you!

Yahoo!  I think it turned out great!

They loved the quilt and were willing to hold it up, but wanted to be cropped out!

This is the Eureka quilt, made from a pattern by Jackie Robinson at Animas Quilts.  The pattern is amazingly good, with very clear directions and very logical construction.  It's broken into easy steps and goes together well.  However!  The blocks have so many pieces that it took forever to make them.  After making the "A" blocks, I kept track of time for making the "B" blocks.  I stopped counting at 30 hours for those blocks alone.  FYI, the blocks are different configurations from A through I.  So, yep, lots of hours! 

I think this was totally worth the time, though!  And even though the pattern is great, I still managed to mess up.  See the center blocks bordered by those pretty dark blue triangles?  The blocks there are supposed to be arranged to make a star.  I somehow turned the blocks so that there is no star.  I didn't realize this until after it was quilted, of course.  I felt bad for a little while, but I think I'm over it.  I'm calling mine a "variation."

Another thing adding to the hours in this quilt was a poor color choice at the beginning, which meant a lot of ripping to change things.  You can read about that HERE.  I think it worked out for the better, though!  Sometimes time spent ripping is time well spent.

The wedding quilt was quilted by Alycia of Alycia Quilts, and she did an amazing job.  I told her it was a wedding quilt and that I wanted it to be special, and she really made it that way.  She must have spent forever on this, and it turned out so great.  Thanks Alycia!  (I bet she would be willing to quilt one for you, too!)

This quilt is about 87 by 105, which the pattern calls a full/queen.  In reality, I think this will fit even a king bed if it's turned sideways.  I think a king size would actually be enormous and really too big.  I used a cotton/wool blend batting that is fairly thin and light.  The top itself was very heavy because of all the seams, and wool is always nice and warm in addition to being light. 

Overall, this quilt just screams happiness, and I hope the kids enjoy it for many, many years. Even with all the hours in this quilt, I would make it again. Smaller, and in different colors. And with an actual star in the center. I'd like to make one for myself in pink and green, maybe with a black accent.  Let's put that on the "someday" list, because I have other things to do right now!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  I have fun weekend plans--a trip to the AQS quilt show in Lancaster, Pa! I'm meeting up with a friend there and I'm sure it will be a great time.  May not be great for my pocketbook, but I know I'll have fun!

Sharing at Confessions of a  Fabric Addict, Finished or Not Friday, and crazymomquilts.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

New scrap project and a new goal

Holy cow, friends, it's the last week in March!  How did that happen?  The older I get, the faster the time goes.  At this point, the time has passed us out of winter and into spring, even though it's still a bit chilly.  I can tell that it's spring because the landscapers are here to do a major outdoor project for us, and because the leaves are coming out on the trees. That means pollen any second. Let the sneezing commence.

I've started a new project that I hope will use up a bunch of the scraps I've had laying around forever.  Because I don't have enough projects already, you know.  But I have been making good progress on my UFOs, so I feel good about this:

This is the start of a Scrap Happy Rails quilt from Amanda Jean Nyberg's new book, No Scrap Left Behind.  (Not a compensated endorsement!)

These blocks go together really fast and use a *lot* of scrap pieces.  The strings are really easy, though I did have to do mine a bit differently from the pattern.  If you look, you'll see that several of my strips are pieced together from squares and rectangles to make them the right size.  That's because the scraps that I'm using for this little quilt come from this bag:

When we were living in the condo last year and I had no space, I ended up giving away most of my scraps, because I had nowhere to put them and because I was just tired of them altogether.  Somehow this bag escaped the purge.  This included some small pieces, which led to the pieced strips.  All of these pieces will become a charity quilt for the Hands to Help Challenge over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  I'm planning to make it smaller than the pattern, lap size instead of queen, but I'll still have to add in a few more scraps to fill everything out.  Wonder where I'll find those?

I think this should make up pretty quickly, but April promises to be a very full month, so I'm making this my One Monthly Goal for April.  I just want to have it pieced by then. I'll worry about actually quilting it in May.  Unless a miracle happens, of course.

So I'll be stringing along for a while this week!   Hope you have a great week with a minimum of sneezing!

Sharing at Linky Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, Oh Scrap!, and One Monthly Goal.
 Elm Street Quilts

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Grand Opening celebration--with a giveaway!

Hi everyone!  Today we are celebrating my friend Bernie and the expansion of her Etsy fabric store, Needle and Foot Fine Fabrics.  You can find the shop HERE.  Bernie has had a shop for a while, but a couple of months ago she expanded it into a full service fabric store carrying new fabrics and some vintage pieces and patterns.  Bernie is also sponsoring a great giveaway, which appears at the end of this post.

To the project! Here is what I made with fabric that I got from Bernie's new shop:

I used the Modern Tykes line and made alphabet letters and a storage basket for my tiny grandson!  He can't read yet, of course, but it's never too early to start. And based on how much he's chewed on them, he already loves them.  As a bonus, these are genuinely some of the cutest and easiest things I've ever made.

These letters are super-easy to make.  The biggest challenge is deciding on the alphabet font and the size that you want.  My letters turned out to be about 4 inches tall (the width depended on the letter, of course).

To find an alphabet, you can go into Microsoft Word, look at all those fonts and choose one, then go to Text Effects, and (I assume) say some magic words and wave a magic wand to get the alphabet you want.  Or you can go to Pinterest or Google and search for alphabet printables or alphabet coloring pages and find one that way.  That's what I did.

I used the Modern Tykes fabric for the fronts of the letters and solid charms for the backs.  Once I printed the letters and cut them out, I traced them on the solids backwards in chalk.  This ensures that the solids will always be on the backs of the letters, with the fun fabric on top. Then I sandwiched them with two layers of quilt batting and just straight stitched around the letters.  This is a great place to use up those trimmings from the sides of quilts.  Two layers makes them extra nice and puffy.

After stitching, I just cut out the letters with pinking shears.  Pro tip: do this over a table!  You will have a huge thready mess after trimming.  Seriously, thread and lint everywhere. 

If you're giving these to a small child you may want to wash them before gifting them.  (The letters he got went straight into my tiny grandson's mouth, after all.)  I suggest washing the fabric before construction and then tossing the finished letters into the dryer to get some of the lint off.  When they're washed, the letters shrink a little and twist, which is not a problem except when you want something to look "new" for a gift.  Otherwise, you can wash them and then iron them out again.  Your call!

What about this cute basket?  I made this from a tutorial by Film in the Fridge, found HERE.  It's super-easy  and only took two fat quarters.  I used a piece of leftover quilt batting instead of interfacing and it worked great.  Best of all, that size basket holds more than one entire alphabet.  This is the small, but she also gives instructions for a larger bin as well. 

My grandson's full name is really long, and I wanted hm to be able to spell out the whole thing eventually,  so I made him two sets of consonants and five sets of vowels.  I was able to get all of those letters plus the basket out of the set of fat quarters I received from Bernie.  I did add a whole mess of solid charms and the lining for the basket from my stash, but you should be able to get at least two full alphabets from the fat quarters if you use them for both the front and the back.

Now for the giveaway!  Bernie has generously offered one winner from each participating blogger a choice of either six fat quarters or three half yards from her new shop!  Your choice!  To enter, go on over to Bernie's shop (click HERE) and find something you like, then come back here and leave a comment letting me know what you might get if you win.  (Do yourself a favor and "favorite" her shop while you're there so you can find it again easily!)  For a second entry, follow Bernie on Facebook or on Instagram and leave a comment back here to let me know.  Two entries per person, please.  (Don't make me be an enforcer!  I hate it!)  International readers can also win, but will have to split the shipping with Bernie.

**If you are a no-reply blogger, make sure to leave an email where I can reach you!  If I can't notify you, you can't win!**

***This giveaway is now closed!  Congratulations to Allison!***

I will choose one winner randomly at noon on Tuesday, March 28.  But you can have many other chances to win by visiting all the other great bloggers who are participating in this hop!  Here is the schedule:
As an added bonus for everyone who has made it to the end of this blog post, Bernie is offering 15% off any orders of $5 or more from her shop, through Sunday, March 26.  Fifteen percent! That means the Modern Tykes fat quarter bundle would be only $14.45 before tax and shipping!  Use the code NANDFREADERS15 at checkout to get your discount.

Good luck to everyone, and be sure to go over and check out Bernie's shop even if you aren't entering the giveaway.  She's standing by with rotary cutter at the ready and is just itching to fill your order!  Seriously, she's very easy to work with and ships fast.

Have a great weekend!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Finished or Not Friday.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A few more steps

Hi everyone, and happy spring!  Every year I think that I will get tons of things done over spring break, and I always do, but somehow the things I get done are never the things I think I'll get done.  So I got a lot of work stuff and house stuff finished (including ripping up carpeting) but not a lot of sewing stuff.  Oh, well!  I did have a great idea for a new quilt in the middle of some research, but I'll tell you about that another time.

For today, let's talk about the blocks I did manage to make up in the last few days:

Aaahhh!  Yep, there's a mistake in the middle block, two rows put on incorrectly.  I looked at these 100 times and still missed it.

These are the next blocks for the Steps to the Garden quilt I'm making for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year.  I really don't have a lot of red, but I managed to scrape up these bits.  I admit that the butterfly print is more like a pink or a coral, but it's cute so I used it.  The one on the right is a Christmas print, but it got used too.  I don't think it's super obvious, do you?

There are a lot of pieces in this block but I think I've finally worked out the most efficient way to make these.  If I concentrate I can do three blocks in about 2 hours, which sounds like a long time, but there are a *lot* of seams here.  And I'm getting way better at pressing open seams, which I suspect will be the key to success for this quilt since every seam will need to be matched.

Speaking of which, I've now got 9 blocks.  I think the red ones fit right in:

These blocks look way better in person than in photos.  The greens aren't quite as strong as they appear in the pictures.  Overall, I'm pretty happy with how it's turning out, though I am not looking forward to matching those seams!

In other news. . . my friend Bernie at Needle and Foot has expanded her Etsy shop into a full service fabric shop!  To celebrate, there is a Grand Opening blog hop going on, with a great giveaway from each blogger.  My day on the hop will be coming up on Thursday, but here is the schedule for everyone: 

Be sure to check out all these great projects and giveaways and come back here on Thursday to see my project and enter my giveaway.  My project is a fun one, suitable for children!

Hope everyone has a great week with lots of sewing time!  The flooring guys come back on Wednesday, so I expect lots of hammering and dust.  Maybe I'll try to stay at work for a while!

Sharing at Linky Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, and soscrappy for RSC17.