Wednesday, December 31, 2014

plenty of pineapples quilt

When my kids were little, they had an electronic leap frog book. One of the stories had a lady that said the phrase "plenty of pineapples" in a sing-songy voice. My kids played that phrase over and over and over had to be at least a thousand times. The toy is long gone, but the phrase is still quoted in our household...sing-songy voice and all. I never knew it would come in handy as a quilt name, but low and behold, it certainly does!
This quilt ate a LOT of scraps. And a lot of thread! The pineapple blocks (tutorial here) are time intensive, but are so worth it! That one mistake block that is on point (right hand side, second from the bottom) is my favorite. Of course, right?
I quilted it with Aurifil thread in an all over loop-de-loop pattern, which disappears into the patchwork. I love that!
I pieced the back from my stash. It's one of my favorite pieced backs to date! A few of those fabrics were going to be quilted grocery bags, but they work well as part of a quilt back quite nicely instead.
The quilt measures 62" x 76". And this is scrap project #101/101!!!
Thanks so much to all of you who cheered me on in my 101 scrap project challenge, which I started back in July 2013. A year and a half for 101 scrap projects isn't too bad! It was wonderful to have you along for the ride. Thanks for reading and supporting me in my quilting efforts this year. It means an awful lot to me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! I hope you have a safe and happy New Year's Eve!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

ticker tape doll quilt and some socks

Here's scrap project #100/101! It's a little ticker tape doll quilt (tutorial here) that I made for my daughter. I had her pick some of her favorite scraps from my ticker tape drawer, and when she lost interest, I picked my favorites. There are so many good ones in here!
That little cutie pie deer is a favorite! I left a 1" border around the edges this time and I like how it gives the patchwork a little border. I also like that it gives the binding a little breathing room.
So many scraps many scraps leftover. I could make 20 of these, easily! If only I had more time! That's always the trick, right?
Isn't that a sweet backing? It's the perfect match for this quilt. The quilt measures 16" square.
I finished up another pair of socks last week! These are my 11th pair to date. I think this is my 3rd pair this year. That's pretty exciting, because there is NOTHING like a pair of hand knit socks.
I used my basic sock pattern, which is available here, for free!
See you tomorrow with scrap project #101!!!

Monday, December 29, 2014

scrap happy apron

Today I "borrowed" from the family couch time quilt that is in progress and turned a few of the slabs into a quilted apron. I've been thinking of making one of these for a few least....probably more! It worked out much better than I thought it would, which is sweeeet! I'm sure I will use it all. the. time.
I made the ties extra long so they wrap around my waist and tie in the front. Of course they are red polka dots, right? I used the thinnest batting I have, quilted it on the diagonal with a cross hatch to stabilize the patchwork, mainly. I added a layer of Kona cotton, stitched around the perimeter and flipped it right side out using the birthing method. I top stitched around the outside edges to finish it off. It's scrap project #99/101! And I LOVE IT!!!

Only 2 more scrap projects to go! And one is already finished...woo-hoo! It's bittersweet to be this close to wrapping up my scrap challenge. It's been so very fun! I'll definitely miss it....

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, December 26, 2014

quiet Christmas quilt top

Welcome to finish it up Friday! I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!
I'm a little late in posting today because I was busy sewing together my quilt top! This morning it was in a few hundred I'm happy to say, it's in quilt top form. I love how subtle it is! It's all from the stash, with the exception of this one fabric.
My friend Tara was sweet enough to buy and send this awesome Dear Stella print to me! You KNOW you have a good friend when they will purchase fabric for you so you don't break your fabric fast. Thanks, Tara! This quilt is all the better because of it!
The squares are 5" cut, 4.5" finished. There are a LOT of polka dots in this quilt. Just the way I like it!
The quilt top is 63" x 90". I figured I might as well make it a twin size so we can all cover up on the couch with it at one time. :)

Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week! Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas Eve! I hope you are/were able to enjoy some lovely time with family!
I finished a few mini mats in the past few days. I love having projects to helps me to sit still for a few minutes, which is especially important this time of year. (If my hands aren't busy, I can't sit!) I wasn't planning on making this mini, but I came across the fabric combo and I thought it was too good to pass up! I love these fabrics together and simple is good! As are red polka dots. :) It is scrap project #97/101.
I hand quilted this one the other night at my son's jazz band concert. Hand quilting to live music is great! I am in love with this color/fabric combo, and I really, REALLY want to make an entire quilt like this. I am contemplating how reasonable/unreasonable that is. Actually, I know how unreasonable it is, but I'm trying to figure out a way to justify it in my head anyway! This is scrap project # 98/101.

Both of these mini mats were made with scraps from Modern Textiles, so they are extra special. I love making a mini (or two) to commemorate a trip.
I thought I would share this little trick. When I hand quilted it, I stopped stitching one round before the outside, added the binding, THEN added the last round of hand stitching. That makes the last line of quilting much easier to place. I just love a hand quilted mini! I can see making many more of these...
Now that the minis are done, I'm looking forward to settling in with my pineapple quilt. It's going to be so fun to hand bind this one! There is SO much to look at while I stitch.

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my blog, cheering me on and leaving encouraging comments. It really, truly means so much! Hope you have a very Merry Christmas!!! xoxox

Monday, December 22, 2014

a trio of zip pouches

There are a million things to do this time of year, but it's necessary to get some sewing time in to retain a bit of sanity, right? At least that's what I tell myself! Today's sanity project was making these little zip pouches. I've already jumped in and started tackling the huge bag of scraps from Mary. Hurray! Since so many of you asked, I plan to do a few blog posts (in the new year) about where to start, how to sort them, how to store them, etc.
It's hard to tell from the photo, but the insides of these two little pouches are laminated fabric scraps.
Look at that little gusset! I boxed out the corners 5/8". It felt a little ridiculous, but it turned out so cute! I may have squealed when I turned it right side out.
The two little ones will be coin purses and the other one may end up being a gift, although I REALLY want to keep it!!! We will see how that goes! These are scrap project #96/101.

I'm getting SO close to finishing my 101 scrap challenge. If all goes well, I should finish by year end, which would be so awesome. Then, I need to come up with another challenge to fill the gap. Any suggestions are welcome!

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, December 19, 2014

not a finish in sight

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I have no finish to share today. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Tis the season, right? I hope you did better than I did this week!
In lieu of a finish, I thought I would share a photo of my Christmas quilt collection. I've made several over the years, but these are the ones that still live at my house. The candy cane quilt (middle) is my favorite of the bunch! These were made back in 2008 and 2009. It's fun/interesting to see the fabrics I used. My stash has evolved quite a bit since then! It's also apparent that I am pretty consistent in my love for lap size quilts. That certainly hasn't changed!
Also....Christmas came early for me! Last night we had a guild meeting and my friend Mary brought me a HUGE bag of scraps. She was SO happy to be rid of them and I was SO happy to give them a good home! I can not wait to play!! I can only imagine how many finishes will come out of there.... eventually! Thank you, Mary! See, THIS is why I never run out of scraps! :)

How about you? Do you have a finish to share this week? If so, please link up! Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

quilting, quilting and more quilting

Last Saturday night I started cutting out a new quilt! I can't remember the last time I made a stash quilt...usually it's "all scraps, all the time" around here. (Which is fun, don't get me wrong!) The original idea was to make it from low volume fabrics (light values only) and call it "Quiet Christmas". I'm sticking with the name, because I love it, but I decided to use medium values as well, so I wouldn't have to go buy a bunch of new fabric. (I'm still on my fabric fast...139 days strong!)
I've got most of it cut out and I love the mix so far. LOTS of polka dots! The squares are cut at 5", which seems HUGE to me. :) I'm finally seeing a dent in my stash, which feels fantastic! I'm not sure if I will get this done before Christmas, but like my daughter says, "it don't matter." :)
I basted my pineapple quilt over the weekend--mostly because I didn't want to have to iron the top again. Hahaha! (I'm actually completely serious.)
The quilting is going well so far, for which I'm thankful! I'm doing simple loop-de-loops and they are disappearing into the scrappy chaos. Perfectly imperfect.
And then, in my down time, I've been hand quilting my "oh my stars" quilt. Actually, my friend Nancy, who taught me how to quilt, is recovering from knee surgery. She is in short stay care, so I've been hand quilting this while I visit her. It feels so "full circle" and it makes my sappy heart so happy.

Monday, December 15, 2014

making things cozy

Last week I made a sweater pillow out of my husband's old sweater. This time around I recycled one of my own, because it only seemed fair. (Ha!) I still love the stripes and the colors of the sweater, but it had seen better days. I wore it a lot!
Turning your sweater into a pillow cover is easy! I was going to do a full-blown tutorial, but I had horrible lighting for photographs (oh, how I miss the sun!) and really, it isn't that complicated. So, I'll just run through the steps quickly, because I need to enable you to do this too! And you better believe, I'm brain storming ideas for using the sleeves. :)
Before you get started, try the sweater on the pillow form you are going to use. (If you have kids around, this will be highly entertaining to them!) Be sure that the sweater is long and wide enough to fully cover your pillow. This sweater had a V neck, and it was JUST long enough. If you look closely at the photo above, you can see a bit of the V at the very top. I was determined to make it work!
1. Find a zipper slightly shorter than your pillow form.
2. Add fabric tabs to each end of the zipper. (I have a tutorial here that covers that step, just be sure that you do not follow the zipper length in the tutorial.) The zipper with tabs should be approximately the length of your pillow form.
3. Trim tabs even with the width of your zipper if you haven't done so already.
4. Turn the sweater inside out and cut off the sleeves.
5. Sew the zipper into the bottom of the sweater as shown in the photo below. The right side of the zipper should be facing the right sides of the sweater. I would recommend keeping the ribbing from the bottom of the sweater in tact if at all possible. It makes things so much easier! (I didn't even use a zipper foot, just my regular piecing foot. )
6. Use a ruler and a chalk marker to mark a square that corresponds to the size of your pillow form. Keep in mind that the sweater will stretch a little bit, so you can err on the small side, but just a bit.
7. Open the zipper at least half way.
8. Sew on the marked lines. Back stitch at the beginning and ending of each seam.
9. Cut off the excess sweater bulk, leaving a 1/2" seam allowance.
10. Try it on the pillow form.
11. Take in the seams a bit if necessary.
Here is the zipper installed. No zipper top stitching necessary. (YAY!)
Using a striped sweater was a bit tricky compared to using a solid colored sweater, but all in all, I think it turned out pretty good! This is a very fun and quick project! No interfacing or extra materials necessary.

Because I'm sure someone will ask about pillow forms....I make my own using the tutorial here.

If you have any questions, I'll try to answer them in the comments!

Oh, and I would recommend getting permission from the owner of the sweater before turning it into a pillow. It's good to keep the peace. :)

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, December 12, 2014

plenty of pineapples quilt top

It's Friday! I hope you've had a good week of finishing!
I am thrilled to share my completed pineapple quilt top! It's been in progress since July, if I recall correctly. It was a fun (and intense) journey and I'm so glad that the top is DONE! It turned out remarkably close to the initial vision I had in my head. Hurray for that!
These blocks (tutorial here) are time consuming! I estimated that each one took me about 3 hours, and I'm sure that a few of them took even longer. That means I have a minimum of 60 hours into this quilt already. Oh Mylanta! (Sometimes it's better NOT to do the math, right? :)) That being said, this is a special quilt and it was totally worth it!
The blocks finish at 15.5" square (16" unfinished), so the quilt top measures about 62" x 77.5". It's a lovely lap size.
I wish I could say that I've made a dent in my scrap bins, but that isn't the case at all. Oh, well! Such is the life of a scrap quilter!

Thanks to all of you who joined in the conversation yesterday about gift giving. It was fun to read all your comments!

How about you? Do you have a finish to share? I know it's hard this time of year with all kinds of secret sewing going on, but if you do have a finish you can share, please link up! Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

a question for discussion

So, gift giving season is here. I have gift giving anxiety (add it to the list) and adding the hand made element into the equation multiplies the uncertainty that I feel. When giving hand made, just how much do you tailor the fabric/color choices to the recipient? How much of your own twist do you put on it? What if you dislike the colors/fabric that they love? How do you deal with that? I know that these aren't easy questions to answer, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject. I've been mulling this over for the past few months and I haven't come to any solid conclusions. Please weigh in!
I've been busy with my scraps (as usual) and I thought I would give you a little peek at my workspace. It's fairly tidy here, but don't be fooled...the other half of the room that isn't nearly as organized. I really need to clean this place up (completely) and share photos of the whole thing. That's been on the to-do list since this summer. Hopefully mentioning it here gives me motivation to actually do it! :)

edited to add: the scrap baskets tucked under the cutting counter are quilted storage boxes--the pattern is in Sunday Morning Quilts.
Last thing for today.....I'm getting SO close to finishing the last few pineapple blocks. I'm hoping to have a finish to share tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

sweater pillow

I'm sure by now you know how much I love throw pillows. You probably know how much I love to reuse things, as well. This project combines the two! It was a quick project, if you don't count the amount of time I spent thinking about doing it.
My husband was done wearing this sweater, but rather than donate it, I used one of the sleeves to make a pair of mittens. That was a few years ago. The body of the sweater and one sleeve was still in tact, and I figured I would use it somehow, someday. Last night I sewed a zipper into the bottom, sewed up the sides and then chopped it down to size. It makes a FABULOUS pillow cover for the couch.
The zipper was one (of many) from a bag of zippers I bought at the thrift store years ago. (I'm starting to sound like a hoarder, aren't I?) I could tell that someone had ripped it out of something a long time ago, so it's been repurposed as well. It was the right length and the color was close enough! I love the metal teeth, but they are dangerous to sewing machine needles if you aren't careful. (Yikes!!)
I was concerned about the stretchiness of the material, so I sewed it a little smaller than my pillow form...and it wrapped around perfectly. The texture is so wonderful!!! I'm pleased as punch! It measures about 21" square.
I do believe that this is the start of a whole "winter" pillow cover series. (Hurray!!!) You can see the summer look here. (Hahaha!) I may need help, but I certainly don't care to change my ways quite yet....

Monday, December 08, 2014

mustard mishap quilt

I finished my mustard mishap quilt last week! I waited to share it because I just HAD to get a photo in front of this fabulous yellow building. Isn't it so perfect with my quilt? I'm thankful to my husband and son for helping me with the photographs.
It is 100% scraps. Linen, denim, chambray, gingham, woven cotton, double gauze and even a little bit of canvas were used in this quilt. Normally I don't mix that many different materials together, but I think it worked well in this piece. I quilted it heavily, so if things shrink it shouldn't pucker too badly...the stitching should hold everything into place.
For the quilting, I used my Janome and made one big concentric square, but at an angle. I was concerned that having the stitching at an angle would be distracting, but I think it adds a lot of movement and depth. I really like how it turned out! You never know until you try. :)
The texture is so, so good. As I worked my way to the outer edges, my quilting lines got a little less straight, but I constantly reminded myself that this is a utilitarian quilt and it's not about perfection. I did my best, though. Sometimes that is a fine line, you know?
The backing is a sheet from Target that I had on hand. (I used the matching flat sheet to back this quilt.) For the binding I used jelly roll strips. It is so nice and quick!
It's been used a lot already! I think it's a new family favorite.
The quilt measures about 56" x 72". It's scrap project # 95/101. (That's SO exciting!!!)

Happy Monday to you!