Friday, December 30, 2016

Dazzling Ornament {Crosstitch Tree Skirt}

In 1999, I made my parents a crosstitch and beaded tree skirt.


At the time, it never occurred to me to take any pictures.  This year, while we were visiting them in Virginia for the Christmas holidays, I decided to take the opportunity to take a pictures.  Since my mom keeps her village on it, I didn't want to pull them all off and only took two pictures....but I think you get the idea.


Crosstitch.  Beads.  Aida cloth.  Piping and simple muslin backing.
It was nice to see it still under her tree 17 years later.


Tree Skirt Stats:
Name: Dazzling Ornaments Christmas Tree Skirt
Pattern: #02952
Designed By: Joan Marchie


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Sincere Wishes {Fidget Quilt}

"The sincere friends of this world are as ship lights in the stormiest nights."


Last Christmas, I made my grandparents a quilt HERE using the Sincere Best Wishes fabric by Henry Glass and the pattern called Thistle by Fat Quarter Shop's book Simply Fat Quarters.



It's a sensitive family topic, but my grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer's a few years ago.
I hunted for information that could help him, and my grandmother, manage anxiety that it crease. I came across what is called a Fidget Quilt in my investigations.



  My former nurse self could see the value in having, what is a basically, an activity blanket for him. Textures to fiddle anxious hands.   However. I was very turned off by the idea that they looked like infant/toddler activity mats. I decided that I was going to just make them a quilt that had very subtle things for his hand to grab.



I've had a Elizabeth Hartman quilt pattern called the Kitchen Window marked in her Modern Patchwork book for a long time in mind for a memory quilt.  I was excited to realize I was going to be able to use up the rest of the original fabric bundle of the first quilt.  A matching quilt, but a decidedly more masculine pattern.



I cut all the block parts first and then raided my notions bins.  Zippers, lace, and ribbons were gathered and attached those first to any block parts that I could "hide" it in.


Never having more than two "texture" Block parts in one block.
It was a very simply constructed quilt and I was able to use stash only.  (I'm still not sure if I should be proud of that or not).


The backing had me stopped in my tracks for a few days.  I am at a point where I just don't have a lot of yardage to make backings.  Pieced backing it seemed to call for again.  This time, I realized that I could squeeze some stash into a giant block mimicking the smaller blocks in the front.  After some math crunching,  it was successful in the endeavor.



I was worried I wouldn't be able to center the giant block on my long arm, and it is a bit off, but I was pleased that I was somewhat close.


I opted to do a simple meandering since their were so many notions and bits I had to make my way around.


Lace bits and layers.


Folded fabric block parts.


And functional zippers by layering the same fabric under the zipper parts to make a "pocket".




Binding was made with my preciously hoarded Painted Canvas fabric.


Two happy grandparents who didn't even realize it was a "fidget" blanket
and were just happy for a twin to go with their previous quilt.


Quilt Stats:
Measures: 52" x 68"
Pattern: Kitchen Window by Elizabeth Hartman
Fabric: Sincere Best Wishes by Henry Glass Fabrics, 
Kona Brown and Sandstone, Free Spirit Painted Canvas in Teal
Quilted: Free motion meandering on Handiquilter Avante


Friday, December 23, 2016

Gift Box {Quilted Potholders}

"A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer."


As a parent, I often find it difficult to come up with gifts for teachers.  Particularly at Christmas time.  I grew up watching other kids give their teachers gifts for the holidays, but my mother never sent me along with any, so my frame of reference as a parent myself was, basically, clueless. When the older boys were all stacked together, I often was overwhelmed thinking about the monumental task of curating several gifts for several teachers they each had and never took it on.

When Button came along, I made a decision that it would be an area I would work on making more of an effort.

This year, Button as a teacher who seems game to take anything I send her way. This holiday, I happened upon this awesome Mason jar pre-filled with cookie mix at Target.  Just eggs and water were needed to finish them.  I thought it would be nice to send along some Potholders.


I did a fabric pull of some of my leftover Christmas fabric scraps, most from my Blizzard Quilt.


I found a quilt block that appealed to me at Fort Worth Fabric Studio HERE.

I definitely went off grid after her block instructions to make potholders that protect the back of your hands. I affectionately call them my potholder flaps.  I *may* have a tendency to burn the back of my hands on my oven. 
A lot.


The flap and the actual potholder each have a layer of Insul-brite and batting.  I quilted them very simply because it can get quite puffy with all the layers.

I always add hanging loops before I attach my binding to the back.


His teacher really was pleased  and mentioned at the Christmas party that she was hoping that I would make something for her. So glad I did!


While I was at it, I was feeling disappointed that I didn't finish all the Christmas ideas for our own home, so I made a set for myself along with some simple coasters for our family room (tutorial HERE).




Monday, December 19, 2016

Festive Flurries {Quilt}

Flurries. Swirl. Whirl. Eddy. Billow. Gust.


I have adored the Winter's Lane Fabric line by Kate & Birdie since the day I saw it.  I was so excited to use the Fat Quarter bundle I bought from the Fat Quarter Shop when it came out for my Spirograph quilt.  But I was even more ecstatic to be figure out how to use the leftover full fat quarters and scraps for a second quilt.


I first saw the Festive Flurries quilt pattern quite a while ago in one of my magazines before I even thought about using my Winter Lane fabric.  You can find at the All People Quilt site HERE.  It's also called Blooming Bliss in a different color option.

I didn't want to make mine as large as the original pattern, so I was able to cut leftover fat quarters and squeezed out some block parts from the leftover irregular cuts of the Spirograph Quilt.


I contemplated using the taupe/cream fat quarters for the "flakes" of the pattern, but finally settled on a solid white.  Hindsight, I probably should have used a softer white like Bella or Kona Snow.


The one thing that I ran into is that I really didn't like all the different blocks mixed up like the original.  I felt that all the cream accents were distracting when it had a scrappy look and took away from the snowflake effect.  I decided to arrange it so that four blocks made one giant block.

  If you look closely, you can see that sometimes I didn't have four block of one print and concentrated on color coordinating.  I liked how it was a subtly scrappy.  I also ran into some trouble with some of the prints in one block.  A good example would be the bottom middle blocks.  I had to use a different print within the block part.


When I was finished, I realized I REALLY wanted to do a Winter's Lane backing.  I was lucky enough to find some on Etsy.  How cute is the fussy cut block that was sent along?


Unfortunately, when I ordered it, I didn't plan very well and was short a 19" square to fit my long arm quilting needs. I found a quick HST snowflake quilt block to be a filler.


It seemed fitting to have the pop of red on the back.  I noticed way too late in the game that I had flipped one HST the wrong direction on the bottom one. I'm thinking a good place to put the label?!?!?


I wanted to do the same pantograph I did on my Spirograph Winters Lane quilt.


It features four snowflakes.


And thankfully you can be a little "off" because every snowflake is different than another, right?


Out of the four, this one is my favorite.


The binding was a few of the cream/taupe fat quarters that had bypassed for the blocks.


The only difference than the Spirograph quilt, is that I used a white thread instead of a darker taupe since there was so much white in the blocks.  I also felt that the backing was so pale.


Quilt Stats:
Measures: 50" square
Pattern: Festive Flurries or Blooming Bliss by All People Quilts
Fabric: Winter's Lane by Moda Fabrics and Kona White
Quilted: Glacee Pantograph by Willow Leaf Studios on Handiquilter Avante


I just have a small, small amount of this fabric leftover and a ziplock bag full of triangles I stitched into HSTs while I was making the quilt blocks. I'm hoping to make some pillow covers for the chairs that these go on.  


My favorite part is that its finished just in time for Christmas this year and will be on my chair until Spring arrives.  My 2017 goal is to make my Christmas quilts with my Kate Spain bundle!


Friday, December 16, 2016

Naughty Nines {Quilt}


This year was filled with quilts that just didn't seem to fit MY "modern quilt" sensibilities or were not in my possession anymore for entering the Quiltcon 2017 show.  It was bothering me that I didn't  have a quilt to submit to a show I will be attending in Febrary.  I could see the future Me upset as I walked around the show thinking "Why didn't I even try?!?"



Which still left me with the fact that I didn't have any quilts to submit. With that in mind, I went to check out the "Challenge " categories.  I found that I was the most interested in the American Patchwork Modern Nine Patch Challenge.  It meant I could use any fabric I had on hand and make any nine patch pattern I wanted that I would be happy to have laying around my house!


For some reason, I could not get out of my head that I still had leftover scraps from the auction quilt, Sweet Silhouettes, hanging around.  I also really loved the idea of exploring improv since I made the Rainbow Remix quilt this year.  I knew could apply my fairly new improv skills on a simple block.


My plan from the beginning was that I wanted it to have two elements. A traditional patchwork feel with a giant nine patch that popped. I played around with solids and offset layouts, but landed on this design which definitely fits the Modern Traditionalism category I tend to gravitate to the most. 


I knew exactly where it was going to live in my house and be a lap quilt, so I knew I wanted to use a beige and gray background.  I played around with some of my solid stash.  
Then I played around with some solid and low volumes together, but finally landed on using just low volumes as my background blocks.


Despite the fact that each block is wonky, I wanted to have a traditional grid so all the blocks were cut down to 10" squares. 


For the backing, I grabbed a bunch of old stash to create a giant nine patch. The colors mimicking the solid nine patch blocks. 


When I loaded it on my longarm, I tried my best to center it so I didn't lose the nine patch when quilting. I had to take this quick picture because I love when the light shines through and gives a stain glass feeling. 


I had played around with a charity quilt for our local modern quilt guild recently and knew this quilt was begging to have this fun back and forth linear quilting in Sandstone in the background and coordinating thread colors in the solid blocks. 


I've had some taupe fabric hanging around in my stash and was perfect for the binding. 

Quilt stats:
Measures: 45" square
Pattern: Improv wonky nine patch
Fabric: Scrap/stash
Quilted: Free motion on Handiquilter Avante Longarm

Quiltcon Description:  
"In my mind, nine-patch quilts evoke traditional patchwork, therefore, I was determined from the beginning for the quilt to have an allover patchwork feel, but with a subtle modern twist. Each block, whether low volume or solid, are all improv pieced nine-patches using wonky strip pieces. The blocks were then trimmed to make a traditional grid so that the solid blocks made their own dominant large scale linear nine patch in the center. The quilting is a linear moving free motion with the low volumes in neutral and solids in their coordinating colors to further emphasize the large scale nine patch."



Did it sting when I received the letter that it was not going to be hanging in Savannah in February? 
Oh yes.  Despite what people may think, it is an utterly vulnerable moment when I share any of my quilts on social media.  When I submit my quilts to Quiltcon?  I'm so exposed that the best way to describe it is that I've ripped off my skin and am showing the deepest parts of me.  And not just sharing it. But asking for it to be judged.  Yes. Quilts aren't "just a craft" to me.

Then you receive a letter that says "We regret to inform you...."
I would be lying if it didn't feel like a jab at the heart. 

 But, honestly? It's okay. I'm okay. And one of the first things I said to my husband when I told him the news was "I'm just glad I tried again this year". There are worse things that have happened in my life and this is really nothing. And. I love this quilt.  I really, really do.  I am more than happy to keep it around the house since I love it so much!

And did I mention I have the "opposite" blocks all ready to go to make a twin for the other chair?  Yup. I love it that much. 



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