Dorm Quilts Finished

I finally got Necia and Libby’s quilts done for their dorm room–a week after they moved in! Necia’s has the turquoise squares and border, and Libby’s has the green. They were fun to put together.

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Another Project Finished

Most of my quilting projects this summer have been for other people. I just finished this one, made for a beloved girl heading to college tomorrow. Her mom saved her jeans and pants and had me make this:

Kelsey's jeans quilt

Thanks for holding it up, LouLou!

With the exception of two pockets that I sewed closed (they gapped goofily), all the pockets and buttons are functional.

Kelsey 2

I would have liked to include more buttons and snaps and rivets, but since this is supposed to be a comfortable and functional quilt, I only included one square with major hardware, near one corner:

Kelsey 3

I wanted to make the quilt more interesting so I cut out some circles from the pants’ leftovers, and appliqued them on. When the quilt is washed, the edges of the circles will fray groovily.

Kelsey 4

I liked the labels so I cut them off the jeans and resewed them on individual squares.

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The quilt is backed with a soft and fuzzy polyester that should wear like iron.

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A fun project!  And thank you, LouLou and Madame Chaos for the display help!

The Object of My Affections

 . . . . is the name of my completed Valentine raffle quilt to be donated to the high school band’s travel fund.  I’m posting quilting details for those interested.
finished heart quilt2

I did a sort of opposite-stitch-in-the-ditch by using a wavy stitch in the middle of the background blocks:
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I used those quilted waves to echo the scalloped edge.  The pattern was very vague on how to do the scallop, but I think it turned out well:

The stitching ended up making some unintended heart shapes on the back:

I quilted meandering loops-and-hearts in the heart and the borders, using thread matched to the colors on the front but a verigated pink on the back.  This (very poorly lit)shot of the back (made of a plushy, Minkee-type fabric) gives you an idea of the finished quilting:
back of quilt

The quilt finished at an odd size — 53X62 inches — but it will be a great throw or cuddle-with-your-sweetheart blankie.  It was hard to let it go, so I hope it makes a ton of money!

I Love Stashbusters

heart quilt

About six months ago I found the Yahoo group Stashbusters, an email discussion group made up of fabriholics who are trying to break the fabric-binging habit and bust their stashes of fabric by finishing UFOs (UnFinished Objects), PIGs (Projects in Grocery Sacks), and WHIMMs (Works Hidden In My Mind). The members report finishes, participate in challenges, post photos of completed projects, and encourage each other along the way. I have learned so much!

When I was asked to help with fundraising for Missy’s high school band trip, I decided to make a quilt to raffle. I had a charm pack of 35 different 5″ square Valentine fabrics, and asked the Stashbusters for ideas on how to use them in a simple, fast pattern. I was given some great advice, encouraging emails, and helpful links. I wanted to show the resulting quilt top, pictured above, so my fellow fabric fiends could see.

While looking for ideas, I came upon and bought a pattern called Scalloped Charm. I liked its simplicity, but modified the block so that the sashing and posts would surround every charm square. I did buy another valentine charm pack, as well as the fabric for the large border, but everything else was from stash. I also employed Bonnie Hunter‘s ingenious leaders-and-enders technique for making two quilts at once, so while I was piecing the raffle quilt, I used 2.5″ squares as leaders/enders and effortlessly pieced almost all of a second scrap flag wall quilt:

flag start

It’s almost like magic — I got the whole star field done plus much of the red and white stripes, just by using those squares at the beginning and end of piecing chains. As a bonus, I saved thread and time because there are no long thread pieces to cut at the end of piecing, since there is always something under the needle. Thank you, Bonnie!

So I’ve got the raffle quilt top ready to quilt.  I’ll just use my domestic sewing machine (I don’t have a long-arm quilting machine) to do it, but I welcome any input and advice on what I should do.  At first, I was going to use a deep-pink-to-white varigated thread and just free-motion hearts and loops all over, but the thread is pretty obnoxiously hot pink.  So now I’m thinking I’ll use red thread in the heart section and try to soften its blocky look with free-motion hearts and loops.  But the rest of it is undecided–should I emphasize the pink field’s strong diagonals by quilting in-the-ditch, or should I free-motion there, too (probably with pink thread)?  Quilt the borders separately?  Use pink thread in the brown border? 

The pattern calls for a “scalloped” piping just inside the binding.  I’m thinking about a pink border with a red scallop, or the opposite.  What would you do?

How To: Ruin Your Mom’s Diet

Installment Six in Madame Chaos’ informative series.

Nothing could be simpler than this little tip.  It requires only luck and timing, but I do give some credit to the fortunate circumstance of being lastborn.

All you have to do is lie in wait while your mom is frantically sewing your big sister’s very complicated Renaissance costume that must be done by Saturday night’s costume party.  Do little distracting things like whine to be held and “help sew,” get close to the iron, complain about every movie Mom suggests to put in the laptop for you, smear the Bribe Cookie on the fabric, and disappear out of the sewing room often to go on mysterious and nefarious errands.

Once Mom leaves the room, pick up her Sacred Sewing Scissors and use them to cut the cord to the sewing machine pedal.  Since Mom has a house rule that I (her baby!  Her sweet, sweet baby!) can’t be punished for destroying something if people leave their stuff unattended and in my reach, I know I’ve created the amusing situation of entangling her in her own web.  All that’s left to do is acknowlege to her that yes, I did indeed cut the cord, say something cute like, “I fix it, okay Mama?”  and sit back and watch her beeline for the chocolate chips.

I can’t believe she wouldn’t give me any.

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Be-ribbon Me

I’ve had some requests for photos of the quilts that I took to the fair. They did get blue ribbons, after all. I’d feel a little prouder if the entries hadn’t been so few this year. So this is the flag quilt I made this summer from scraps. I have it hanging outside my house (and it is straighter than it looks here):

flag quilt1

I have some closeups of the quilting on my flickr site if you want to see those; I quilted stars-and-loops in the blue field and in the border, and wavy lines in the stripes.

This is my son’s airplane quilt that I worked on for about a year. I got the free pattern at this kewl site and paper-pieced the blocks. I sent a few of the blocks to my friend Jan who did a great job embroidering the stars on the planes:

plane quilt

I took a long time figuring out how I wanted to quilt the top. I ended up doing a few fun things — G wanted me to make them shooting at each other, so here are a couple of those:

plane quilt 4

plane quilt3

I also quilted some planes doing loop-de-loops:

plane quilt2

BFF Charlie suggested having one plane flying a banner. It turned out to be my favorite:

plane quilt5

Would You Like Stripes With That?

So my friend who has her own surgical-cap business has given me several bags of her (very cute) fabric scraps.   And now that one-third of my children are gone every school day, I’m tackling a new project.  It involves taking these piles in the library

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these piles on the sewing room floor

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more piles on the guest bed

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and more piles in sacks

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and taming them into this

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in order to make something like this:

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And that, my friends, is my very own brand of masochism.