Friday, April 30, 2010

Finished Blocks and a Broken Machine

I had to play a little catch-up with my quilt along blocks. I really should try and keep up. It is a lot less work!

I've got my layout all set and ready for sashing. It is turning into a very cheery quilt. Lots of bold, bright colors.

After posting about sashing this week, Rachel challenged us to get our tops sashed, quilted, and bound in two weeks. I was all prepared to take up the challenge until the auto threader on my machine busted this week. When my husband took it in for repairs he was told that it might be unfixable. What?! Evidently that mechanism on my Brother SE-270D wasn't made to last more that 4-5 years. Why you'd make a machine that doesn't last is beyond me. Now I'm wondering how I can come up with the BIG money I need for a real quilting machine.

It may sound dumb, but I think I'm going through the stages of grief over my broken machine. Yesterday I was still in denial, today I'm just ticked. As you can imagine not having a sewing machine is a big deal for me. I sew EVERY day. Thankfully my trusty 15 year old Kenmore I got when I got married is still going strong. I can piece like no other on it and not worry about it breaking. But, it doesn't quilt.

In the meantime...Maybe I can sell a kidney to earn some extra cash.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pattern Winners

Thanks for the nice comments about the One Shoulder Swimsuit.

Our 2 winners are:

Janet from the Krum Family


Connie Or

Drop us a quick email with your address and we'll get it sent right out.
We hope your girls will enjoy this just as much as we have.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

His + Hers {Part One}

My in-laws celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary on April 1st! I originally wanted to make them a quilt to celebrate, but most of my ideas were not panning out so well. I decided to move away from the anniversary/family ideas and just make them each a nice throw.

You might recognize Hers from the other day.

She really likes pink and blue florals. Her whole house is decorated that way. I'm not sure how she'll feel with the little bits of green and yellow, but I really like it with the addition.

Funny thing is, my 17 year old babysitter and my 17 year old niece both want quilts. Their fabric requests were: pink, blue, yellow, and green old antique/floral prints. The babysitter saw this done and said, "I want a quilt with all these fabrics, too!" (minus one piece she thought was too modern) So, the tastes of a 79 year old woman and two 17 year old girls are the same...

Quilting Detail

Binding Detail

I made a label and had my kids each sign their names. She'll love that part best, I'm sure! It's now boxed up and ready to be sent to her for Mother's Day. I hope she likes it!

I found the backing at JoAnn's. I think it tied all my fabrics together very well.

UPDATED:  His {Part Two} HERE

Monday, April 26, 2010

One Shoulder Swimsuit

This post all began with this drawing, and this question from B.,
"Mom, can you make me this swimsuit?"

I think I can. So here is how I came up with the pattern.

I used my standby Tank suit--KwikSew 2422.
(Which is apparently discontinued. What's up with that? It is a basic tank however I did see this suit--Kwik Sew 3785-- which has both the basic tank back as well as the racerback style suit--in the same pattern. Or you can try this leotard pattern could still use that one as a swimsuit.)
NOTE: To copy patterns I always use clear polyethylene sheeting and a sharpie. You can see thru it better than anything else you might use to copy patterns, and it doesn't rip. I buy my rolls at Menards, but you can get something similar at The Home Depot or Lowe's in their paint departments. Basically it is just 3 mil plastic sheeting.
First you copy one side of the front, marking the center and the point of the armpit, but do not draw the neckline into the strap just yet.
Then I flipped it over, matched the center line and copied the other half. Instead of drawing the strap and neckline I made a line from the top of the shoulder down to the opposite side armpit. I was hoping that I wouldn't have to make any more adjustments than that. In my case it worked out perfectly. Yeah!!! Just be prepared for some tweaking as you don't want it to cut too high into the armpit, or too low and show off more skin than you should.

Front pattern piece finished
For the back it is basically the same concept.
Copy one side--making sure that the side with the strap will be located on the correct side to correspond with the front piece. I.E. you don't want the shoulder strap to be on the right side on the front piece and then end up being the left side on the back piece. It will be a little tricky to cut the 2 backs out together so I would cut them separately.
The left back angles across the back starting from the left armpit up towards the right shoulder. I had to extend the center back seam on both the right and left pieces. For the right shoulder I angled down from the right shoulder towards the left armpit.
This shows the 2 completed pattern pieces with the center backs together.
I always add about 1/4"-3/8" extra on the pattern at the back leg opening. I find that it doesn't ride up as much and covers their little cheekies better. You won't have to adjust the measurement of the elastic.

Here is the completed swimsuit:
B. wanted a double strap on the opposite shoulder and it turned out really cute. The straps ended up being about 8 inches long-finished. And even though her drawing showed a little flower there at the spaghetti straps she didn't want it once we attached them.
Back view

Detail of attached straps
I've made 2 additional copies of this pattern alteration to giveaway.
Both copies are Girls size 7
Size 7 measurements
Height 50”
Chest 26”
Waist 23”
Hip 27”

**And although I've included the measurements for yardage, elastic, etc. there will not be any detailed instructions included other than sew backs together, attach crotch, sew shoulder seams, etc.

Leave us a comment if you'd like to be entered into the drawing for the patterns.
What item is it you wish you had a pattern for?
(maybe we'll come up with it down the road)
You have 'til Wednesday, midnight.
And hopefully I'll get it drawn Thursday morning,
but no guarantees as we have 2 birthdays and a Pinewood Derby Race all going on this week.
For a couple previous posts about swimsuits and some tips on making your own click HERE and HERE. Or type in "swimsuits" to search for posts on our blog--there are a number of them.

You can stop by my shop too and see what I have currently available for sale.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Will Not Apologize for My Messy House...At Least Not Today.

I read Kathy's post this morning and got a good laugh. I think we all can relate on some level.

So in the interest of keeping it real, I'm posting a glimpse into my life one day last week:

When I was taking pictures of this quilt, I thought to myself, "If only everyone could see my house today!" So, I took a picture, not knowing if/when I'd ever post it. But today is the day!

The simple truth is, I would rather quilt than clean. I do make my family pick up, but honestly, with 6 family members, the clean house only lasts between the hours of 7:00pm and 7:00am, better known as when the kids are asleep. Sound familiar?

Don't get me started on Martha Stewart. She makes me crazy. My feelings for her run about like this. So why must we feel so inadaquate? It's a curse, I tell you.

I just want to be happy, do a little of what I love each day, and hopefully raise well-adjusted children. Housekeeping sometimes takes a backseat to that. Oh, well! I will not apologize.

In the interest of positive affirmations, I shall repeat the words of Stewart Smalley: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggonnit people like me!"

What are your thoughts on the subject?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Zig Zag Quilt

My first quilt.

This style stopped me dead in my tracks when I saw them. I knew I had to make one. Here's my version.

(click to enlarge any photo)

The finished quilt is 54.5" by 76.25"
I used this tutorial
***Updated--The tutorial is no longer available on the web so use this pdf version instead.***

full view

back of quilt

showing quilt in the space it was created for

detail view of binding

More photos HERE on my personal blog

P.S. Emily helped a ton with this. I would never have even tried if she weren't around. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I used all her tools and picked her brain often. She even donated a few blues for the quilt. I'm so happy with the results that I'm brainstorming a second quilt. (Different pattern. Different fabrics). Still picking her brain because I'm in way over my head. I recently got rid of a ton of old bedding/blankets we had in our closet. Most of them donated to us over the years. Nice to have, but really, really ugly.
So I like having a pretty blanket laying around. And one more would great.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Not identical, more like fraternal:

Same fabric, different design,
With the chocolate brown print on the backs of both.

I hope their recipients love them as much as I do!

Did you notice? I'm slowly trying to break away from my go-to design.

And to the lovely lady who stopped me in my local JoAnn's today: Even if I never sew a stitch for you, the fact that you liked my little quilt made my day!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Butterfly Jumpers

Seriously...I've had this fabric for YEARS! I loved it when I bought it, but then couldn't come up with exactly what to do with it. It has a little bit of stretch to it and it is just so fun. We finally figured it out recently and as always the 2 younger girls are thrilled with anything to do with orange and with butterflies.

Bigger girl pattern:
McCall's 5425
(This is actually a woman's pattern. We made a size 6 for my 5'3" 10 yr. old daughter) After wearing the jumper this past Sunday to church M. informed that it was a "little short" for her comfort zone and could I please add an orange band at the bottom. I'll take care of any modesty request that comes my way--so since then we've added about a 3" band of orange along the bottom hem. Still looks cute! And M. is happier about it when she sits down.

Little girl pattern:
Simplicity 5578 (out of print)
(I combined the jumper pieces into one piece for this version.)
1 pkg. of 1/2" double fold bias tape will do the trick on this jumper. I did use larger double fold bias tape on the neck edges, but that is because I was trying to use whatever I had in my stash.Now that M. has a band at the hem of her jumper B. wants a black one on hers. We'll see...

Here is the first version made as the pattern indicated. I did lengthen the last piece about 3 inches or so in order to have it be long of enough for my 6 yr. old.

Nothing like a little winter time Hello Kitty to cool you off for the summer!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Vintage Sheet Winners

Congrats to


Winners of the Vintage Sheets!

You both should have an email waiting in your inbox...


Don't forget that our vintage sheet giveaway ends tonight. In the meantime...

I am trying to purge my fabric stash, so go check out my etsy shop. I'll give our blog readers 50% off any fabric that you might want. I've even included my fabric bundles and my s{crap}-tastic blocks. :) Just put blog50 in the instructions when you checkout and I will issue you a refund or email you out an updated bill. As always, I'm willing to trade for vintage sheet FQ's, plaid shirts, whatever. Email me if you're interested. The 50% off will last for a week (April 21st).

Happy Sewing!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Vintage Sheets and a Giveaway

I'm participating in the Vintage Sheet Swap next month on flickr, so I spent the weekend cutting up my sheets. Here is my stack ready to be mailed out...

I tried to find a variety of prints. Hopefully they are appealing to the masses.

I decided this sheet shall remain whole. I plan on using it for the back of my yet-to-be-made vintage sheet quilt. Isn't it pretty?! It looks old and delicate to me. Kind of reminds me of my two 90 year old Grandmas.

I am finding some beautiful inspirations for a quilt--like this one, and this, and this. So many possibilities. I'm getting excited!

In honor of the Vintage Sheet Swap, I am giving away two remnant stacks of vintage sheets left over from all my cutting.

Some of the pieces are smaller, but most are almost fat quarter size. They'd be great for quilting or other small projects.

To enter, leave a comment telling me about any vintage treasures you collect. If you don't collect, that's fine too, just say so. I'll pick two winners on Thursday.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Class Quilts

I was inspired originally by this idea from Carin at Margaret's Hope Chest. Carin was nice enough to respond to my e-mail and answer some questions about how to pull this off with my own children and their classmates for an upcoming auction in 2 weeks for the school's fundraiser. Recently Carin has also been teaching this great class at her kids' school.

I do not have the scrap stash that Carin does, so I wasn't equipped to do exactly how she did it. Instead, I decided that we could do Crazy 9 patch quilts. That way the kids really could do WHATEVER they wanted and we'd all be happy about it together. We started this project back in February as part of the kids' Valentine's Day parties.

It was interesting to see how the kids responded to this project. We did one quilt with 1st graders and then one with 5th graders. Some kids totally got into it--both boys and girls. Some only wanted to do 1 block, even though I was hoping for 2 apiece. Some were very meticulous and organized in which scraps they chose. And others just threw whatever together and called it good. Only one 5th grade boy had the "I'm too cool to do this" attitude. We eventually got him to put a block together anyway (alternating lime green/black). Funny enough, he was the first one lined up to sign his name by his block when I came back to the classes with the tops completed.
1st Grade Class Quilt

5th Grade Class Quilt

Thanks teachers and kids! I hope our combined efforts are a success at the auction.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tie Dye Baby Quilt

I helped my daughter L. start this quilt last summer some time. She finally decided it was time to finish it. For the last number of months all she needed to do was to attach the border sashing and then sandwich it all together. So over our Spring Break week she got serious. She did all of the work except for the top stitching on the binding.
We weren't sure how to do the quilting portion, but finally decided it would be fun to outline the geometric shapes some within the individual blocks. We are pleased with the results.

Finished Dimensions:
33 1/2" square
6 1/2" blocks
2 3/4" sashing between blocks
1 1/2" light blue outer border sashing
2 3/4" dark blue outer border sashing
Solid red backing

It has been so long since we started this that I couldn't remember exactly where we found the idea for the blocks. However, I double-checked at the library and it is this book. Chp. 6, pgs. 40-45.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

More Quilt Along Blocks

More blocks...

Jelly Roll Sampler: Trying my best to stay excited about this one, but my confidence is beginning to wane. Maybe using my scraps wasn't such a good idea. I'm only 3 blocks in (out of 12) so I'll keep going, for now...

Block 2

Block 3

But, I'm crossing my fingers that they don't turn out like my s{CRAP}-tastic blocks.

On the other hand, my Pinwheel Sampler blocks are looking so cool. My fabrics are coming together nicely.

I've already decided that for the next quilt along I sign up for, I'm using these fabrics. I've had them for over a year and they're begging to be cut up.

If anyone wants to help out, I'll be making up some of these blocks and sending them on to Stephanie. I think you should too. Why? Because helping others makes you feel good! :) Directions here.


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