Tuesday, October 26, 2010

We're leaving on a jet plane....

Rob, Robbie, and I are getting on a plane tomorrow morning for a short vacation. We are leaving our oldest to take care of the house and the dog. We are going to Oklahoma to see this sweetheart graduate from Army Basic Training:

Doesn't she look so young?

Mandy has worked very hard at BCT (Basic Combat Training) and is graduating on Friday. Ft. Sill has Family Day on Thursday. Mandy's Platoon earned Honor Platoon and they are the ones performing the demonstrations on Family Day. After the ceremony we get to take her off Base until 9pm. Graduation is 9-10 am on Friday and we get to take her off  Base again until 9 pm. She is flying out to Ft. Jackson, SC sometime on Saturday. We fly home on Saturday.

Expect to see lots of pictures when we get home. I think we are going at a fun time. The town is having a walk through town to see all the changing leaves. They are also having a trick-or-treat thing in the center of town Friday evening. There are a few museums we want to visit too. Mandy has a list of things to do also. Her first priority is to go out and eat lol. The poor thing has been "starving" for 10 weeks. Of course the Army feeds them well but they burn through those calories so fast. They get 3 meals a day but most times they only have 5-10 minutes to eat. She wants to sit and eat and talk for as long as she wants. Plus, she wants soda and candy because they have only had 2 sodas and one candy bar in 10 weeks. I guess if you are going to defend our Country you should at least get to drink a soda and eat some candy every once in awhile.

Monday, October 25, 2010

New quilt kit

I recently won a fun quilt kit from Janet. Janet lives on a ranch in South Dakota and posts some gorgeous photos. This quilt pattern takes just 3 yards of fabric to make. A quick and simple pattern but it makes a nice quilt. Janet also sent me a scissor keeper. She must have heard how often I misplace my scissors lol.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Another Go! Give away

Have you won a Go! yet? Here's another chance for you if you haven't. Head on over to Irish Muses and toss your name in the hat.

After you enter take a look around. Micki has a wonderful blog!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Quilt center done

I took the rectangles from this post and added some black squares (yes Di, my go to color lol) and came up with this:

Yes, it is upside down. Blogger thinks it's fun to flip photos every once in awhile.

As you can tell I didn't plan the placement of colors. I just grabbed and sewed. This top is long enough at 60" for a lap quilt but it is only 36" wide so it will need some side borders and probably a narrow top and bottom border too. Still working on a plan for the borders.

Well, I'm back to work tonight. Booooo!!! Doc says the shoulder is good to go even though it still hurts. He says the pain will ease over time and I won't hurt it by going back now. More Booooo. Since I am a pro at this shoulder stuff I know the pain will ease up in a few weeks. It will take a year or more to completely heal. I just don't want to go back to work :( I would rather stay home and quilt but you have to do what you have to do.

Things around our house will be weird for a bit though. I normally work 5pm-1:30 am. While I was out they decided to put me on third shift when I return so now I work 10:30 pm-7 am. Not sure when  I will fit everything in or where I will find some quilting time but I'm sure I will find a new routine. Should be interesting...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Still Playing

While sorting and cutting my scraps I have been adding pieces to my strip bin. Eventually, I would like to have at least one large string quilt. There's just something about a scrappy string quilt that appeals to me.

I noticed I had alot of black strings in the bin so I decided to use them as the center strip. I didn't pay any attention to the width of the strips. I love how using black as the center strip adds to the depth of the blocks.  The blocks are 6.5". These 18 blocks took me about 2 hours so that's not too bad. Now to make a whole bunch more...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More playing

Yesterday I played with some Tufted Tweets by Laurie Wisbrun. I won this fabric (fat quarter pack) a few months ago but have been hesitant to cut into it. I was waiting for the "perfect" project. I've been thinking about this fabric for about a week now. I finally decided on a pattern and started cutting.

I used the 3.5" X 6.5" die to cut all the fat quarters. I precut the fabric so it was 3.75" wide. Very little fabric waste.

I love this fabric line. The colors are so rich and the designs are fun.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Go and I have been scrappin'

**Have you voted on when to hold the Christmas Stocking Give away?**

I was fidgety the other day. I wanted to play in the sewing room but I didn't really feel like working on any of the projects I had going. So I decided to play with the Go a bit. I have plenty of bits and pieces of fabric that need to be cut into usable sizes. When I first started sewing clothes and bags (this was before I fell in love with quilting)  I saved all the odd shapes that were left after cutting out patterns. Instead of being organized (because I'm not) I just tossed all the scraps in these tubs.

I have these storage tubs that are full of fabric. The one on the left has fat quarters and yardage with a small container of scraps. The other 3....scraps big and small plus some yardage that is of questionable quality/content. The questionable fabrics were given to me.

I love my sneakers :) The laces are pink and the soles are also pink. They are Ecko and come above the ankle.

This cabinet has my recent purchases. Lots of yardage. The top shelf has my Samoan fabric and the bottom shelf has what is left of my I spy fabrics. This cabinet is OK and doesn't need much cleaning just organizing.

This rolling cart has fat quarters and bits and pieces too.

I cut some 2.5" strips with the Go. This strip die is alot easier to use than I expected. I was worried I wouldn't lay the fabric right or the strips would come out crooked or uneven. I had no troubles and all the strips came out fine. Question for you...other than jelly rolls or honey buns, how do you store your strips? For now I guess I will buy one of those shoe box plastic tubs and keep them in there.

I cut a bunch of triangles also. I really want to make one of those 1000 triangle quilts. The Go cutter will make it alot easier.

Then I cut up a bunch of HST. These dies are very easy to use. You just lay your bits of scrap down on the die and roll away. I did have some waste but I didn't mind. I had some odd shapes of fabric to start with. If I didn't use the Go to cut these HST and triangles I would have probably tossed the scraps instead of having to deal with them.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Candy Table Runner

A little while back (last month) I won a table runner kit from Zlaty. I was waiting for the shoulder to heal enough to use the rotary cutter. Plus, there is always another project that just calls my name. On Sunday I decided that it was time.

Zlaty chose the fabrics for me so I didn't even have to worry about which fabrics to use. I LOVE quilt kits! This little runner measures 23" X 15" and is Zlaty's first written pattern.  It is a wonderful pattern and very easy to follow. The size is also nice for a sewing machine mat or some over sized place mats. I think the next time I make it I will make two or three candy sections and make the runner longer.

Zlaty sent enough fabric to use for the back and binding also. I love the striped binding. Thanks Zlaty!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Last one

This is the last of 3 laptop sleeves that I wanted/needed to make for our trip at the end of the month. This one is for Rob (Hubby). I was going through some big plastic tubs of fabric the other day and found this forgotten fabric. It was actually partially sewn into another project that I decided to abandon because this fabric  has more of an upholstery  feel. It works great for this project though.

The inside is a nice light blue color. This fabric is too thin to use as anything but a lining. Two fabrics that don't work well on their own work well together :) Now on to the next project!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Laptop Sleeve # 2

 This laptop sleeve is for Robbie. I bought these flame fat quarters at Walmart a couple months ago and thought they would be fun for a boy.

I used my Go and 2.5" strip die to cut my fat quarters. Before I bought my Go I would cut my strips with my rotary cutter. I never could get the hang of properly folding the fabric so I always had the dreaded V in the center of my strips. No Vs this time. I love this die :)

This time I just went with my own simple design. The top flap closes with one center piece of velcro for the impatient child.

I used a fun fabric for the inside. Last year I bought a bunch of panels of this fabric on Ebay. They are meant to be used as a costume/vest but I love the vampires and don't plan on using it as intended. Eventually it might end up in a wall hanging or quilt or both since I have a few panels. Now to figure out which fabric to use for Hubby's laptop sleeve.

The front of this laptop sleeve is quilted. I thought I would show you what I use to trim up these types of quilted pieces.

The first time I trimmed a piece with batting I used my regular rotary cutter and mat. Since I lay the piece batting side down, when I cut all the batting fibers get stuck in the groove on the mat caused by the rotary cutter. The batting bits are hard to clean off the mat and I also think it wears out the mat quicker. So to make my mat last longer I use an old mat when I have to trim or cut batting. If you click the picture you can see where there are strips of white batting stuck in the mat.

If you click on the picture you will also see that my rotary cutter says paper on it. When JoAnn's had a 50%  off sale on rotary cutters I went and bought another cutter and some new blades. I have two identical cutters now. One I use for cutting fabric and the other is for cutting batting and paper. Hopefully this will extend the life of my cutter and mat.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Rags to Riches

This is along post. If you are looking to find out whether or not I believe the Go! rag dies are a good investment, scroll down to the last paragraph. If you have the time and patience to read this whole post thank you! Hopefully you will get a laugh and learn a little about the Go! cutter.

I've always liked the look of rag quilts and have wanted to make one for awhile now. I've been hesitant to try because I've heard how hard it is on your hands to snip all those seams. That was until I won 3 dies from Pat and Accuquilt. Of course I chose a rag die-the 5.25" rag die. I was thinking it would be good for purses as well as baby quilts. Of course I have no sense of measurement and my mind didn't click on how small 5.25" really is. I did manage to make a couple baby quilts though.

I found all the flannel I had in my stash and started cutting it up on my Go!. This is the front of the boy version pre-washing.

This is the back. This flannel is left over from lounge pants I have made for the kids in the family (nieces, nephews, grandkids, and kids).

This is the front of the girl version pre-wash.

and the back.

Since I had never made a rag quilt by hand I thought I would do a comparison between the Go! and doing one by hand. This skull version is all cut and ragged by hand. This is the front pre-washed.

Here is the back. Even though I cut these squares the same size, this one turned out a bit larger. I ended up making the fringe smaller on this one. Did I plan it that way? Of course not. This is just the result of me running full speed with an idea and not paying close attention to the details. It worked out fine though.

Here are all three after going through the washer/dryer once. I was going to take them to a laundromat but the two that we have aren't close to my house plus they are not in the nicest area of town.  I ended up taking a chance and threw them in my washer and dryer at home. Now I know why they say not to do that. Instead of having the washer drain into our septic, we have a hose that runs from the washer to the backyard. At the end of the hose there was a good size pile of threads from the flannel. Very noticeable from a distance. Plus, inside the washer there was an abundance of threads. I wiped out as many as I could but when my son washed his clothes next, they were all over them. Luckily, they came off in the dryer so he (I) didn't have to use a lint roller on his work clothes.

The skull one will be going in the shop once I edit the photos and the other two will be going to Victoria's Bumble Bean Basics. I just need to get them packaged up and in the mail.

I thought I was going to be making a post telling you not to buy the rag dies. After I made both versions I changed my mind. Let me walk you through my process and then you can decide for yourself.

This is a picture of the boy (left) blocks and the girl (right) blocks cut with the Go!.

This is what the 5.25" rag die looks like. My thoughts are based on this die. I do think the 8.5" die would be easier to use but I don't own that die. If you click on the picture you should be able to see all the threads stuck in the blade slots. I was cutting 3 layers of flannel with each pass. After every other pass I was having to stop and clean the threads out of the grooves. I had a very hard time cranking each  pass. Now if you are a regular reader you might remember that I have had 3 shoulder surgeries (2 this year) so I know that is a factor. I do think it would be easier to cut cotton fabric versus flannel. I might try that at a later date.

This is what my mat looks like after cutting out two baby quilts. This was a brand new mat before I started. Each baby quilt is in a 9 X 9 pattern which means I cut a total of 324 individual squares. Since the die cuts 2 squares at a time and I was using 3 layers of fabric, this means that I ran the die through the cutter 54 times. That took me 6 hours to do. I'm sure that is much slower than most people but I spent alot of time picking those darn threads out! If my sewing room had a window I would have thrown that die out it more than once.

I did flip and turn and rotate the mat with every cut but it still looked like this when I was done cutting. There are chunks missing from this mat. If I decide to use this die again I will need to buy another mat. This one is no longer usable.

This pile of flannel is the big pieces that were left from my starting stack of flannel.

This pile is all the pieces that went in the trash. Both of these piles are from both the boy and girl quilts.

These are the squares that I cut using my rotary cutter. There are 81 green and 81 flame. It took me 10 minutes to cut these and I didn't want to throw anything out the window.

With this quilt I did start with yardage. The other 2 quilts were from yardage (2 different fabrics) and the other fabrics were mainly fat quarter size. This pile is of the leftovers that I decided to keep.

This pile is the bits that I threw out.

I had a hard time sewing the Go! squares together but I think that is because I handled them too much. The fringe was giving me a bit of trouble. Since I was playing with the layout the fringe loosened up and was flopping around.  The skull squares went together as easy as you would expect them to. All the quilts took about the same amount of time to sew up. With the boy/girl quilt, once I had all the blocks sewn together I was done. The skull quilt still needed to be snipped. It took me 3 hours of almost constant snipping to get it ready for the wash. Within the first half hour I decided that the Go! rag die was definitely a good idea. I do not have those fancy rag scissors. I was just using a new pair of fabric scissors that had nice sharp tips. My fingers were sore and I was surprised at how sore my shoulders were.

In conclusions, if you have a little patience when picking out the threads from the die I think that the Go! rag dies are worth the investment. My recommendation is to see if any of your local quilt shops have the Go! or Studio cutters and try out their rag dies to see if it is something that would work for you.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

2010 Stocking Give A-Way

As I mentioned a bit ago I plan on having a stocking give a-way next month. I am going to make a stocking and fill it with goodies based on a theme. I thought it would be fun to have some other bloggers join in too. Everyone loves a give a-way right? It's fun to win but I also love to host give a-ways.

What I was thinking is that we do a give a-way towards the end of November. What I was wondering is how long we should hold it. One week or two? I put up a poll on the side bar so anyone interested can vote on the dates.

I tried several times to get the HTML for a button but it appears to be beyond my ability right now. At least I was able to make the picture with the writing on it :)

I also made a tab at the top of my blog to list everyone who is interested in participating. On the first day of the give away I will use Mr. Linky so everyone can link right up to their give away page.

Sound good? Did I forget anything? Oh, you need information about making stockings? I have a few links for you :)

http://www.craftandfabriclinks.com/xmas_stocking/Christmas_stocking_pattern.html  great if you have a panel type fabric

http://www.bomquilts.com/Free-Christmas-Stocking-Quilt-Patterns.php  lots of different styles

http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art38705.asp   lots more

http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/make-your-own-holiday-stockings-710640/  different shapes

http://www.sewingweb.com/Projects/Stocking/   strip piece stocking

http://sewing.about.com/od/freeprojects/ss/xmasstocking_2.htm   easy

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/crafts/christmas-stockings-craft  Victorian

http://parkcitygirl.blogspot.com/2009/11/christmas-stocking-tutorial.html  my favorite


A Google search will give you lots of ideas.

Anything else? Oh yeah, your stocking can be store bought or hand made. Any size is fine. I have some stockings in my shop that you could purchase. Or, I am willing to exchange fabric for a stocking ;) You can give away an empty stocking if you wish but it would be more fun if you put something in it. Some themes you could use are Baby's First Christmas, Puppy or Kitty Love, sewing or quilting, food, kid's creativity, most anything goes. Just have fun.

Now, did I answer everyone's questions? If not, ask away and I will edit this post to include the questions and answers. OK, now go over to my sidebar and vote on the date you prefer. The date with the most votes wins.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Laptop sleeve #1

My daughter is graduating from Army Basic Training at the end of the month. Hubby, Robbie and I will be flying out there to see her. We will be gone for 4 days and leaving our oldest behind to take care of the dog and the house.

empty laptop sleeve

Of course we can't be gone for 4 days without taking some laptops along with us. Plus, my daughter will have been without any internet for over 10 weeks and I'm sure she will want to do a bit of surfing and catching up with her friends.

I figure it might be a good idea to make something to protect our laptops while we are flying. I found a fun pattern over at Amy a la mode to use on my first ever laptop sleeve.

closed with laptop inside (front)

I found this fabric at a thrift store awhile ago. It is a whole cloth all over design.

back with laptop inside

I like fabric that does all the hard work for me.

I also used the same fabric for the lining. Makes it easier that way. The pattern calls for the lining to be quilted but I think I prefer for the outside fabric to have the quilting. I like the quilted crinkly look the quilting gives the bag.

Now I need to make two more and I can check laptop sleeves off my travel list. I think I might just wing the next one. Once we get back home we probably won't use these sleeves very often so I don't mind winging one or two now that I can wrap my mind around the basics.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Witch-y women

I also made three of these witches to go with all the cats on the last post. The pattern is from here again. These patterns are not for beginners. I have been crocheting for many years and I had a hard time following the pattern. At least there were charts to help but even they weren't very helpful. I'm thrilled to help my customer by making these but I hope I never have to make any more lol.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Little things

I haven't been in the sewing room much lately. I have been busy crocheting little cats for a customer. Love the Turkey Cat. The patterns can be found on Ravelry or Cecinatrix's blog.