Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fast Friends

I'm enjoying the Blogger's Quilt Festival a little at a time. I stepped away from the computer and sewing machine this weekend to enjoy some time with my family. We had a fabulous bike ride on the Prairie Spirit Trail on Sunday and it was great being outside even if the wind tried to blow us away!

I finished up the Downy Quilts for Kids quilt last week. I ordered a free kit online a while back and a package arrived with fabric, a pattern and instructions. The directions were clear and easy. Definitely something a beginner could tackle. Then I just added my own batting and quilted in a grid pattern. I was surprised when I realized that there wasn't binding material but the instructions gave two suggestions for how to finish the quilt. One suggestion was to turn the backing material to the front and sew that down as your binding. I tried that method and I had a hard time keeping the edges straight. It was good to try another way but I prefer a seperate binding. The other issue I had was that a traditional binding hides and secures the ends of my straight line quilting under the binding. When I just turned the back, I didn't like that it just sat there in the open on the back. It is still secured by a line of stitches but I wonder how it will wear.

The other thing I learned was that before I start quilting the sandwich, I have to release some of the pressure from my presser foot so it doesn't distort the straight lines of the seams and give a wavy appearance.

It was a fun little project to do. I named it Fast Friends because of the little mouse sitting on the kitty's tail. And it does seem like when you are in the hospital, you make friends with those around you so quickly. We said a little prayer for the child who will get this quilt before we boxed it up to mail. We've had several friends and family members with little ones who had long stays in the hospital and I thought of them too. I hope this quilt brings a bit of cheer and comfort to someone who needs it.

If you would like to request a kit, here's a link. They ask that after you finish a kit quilt that you send a couple more with your own fabric at some time. So I've happily added two more projects to my list for the year. It will be fun to work with some bright cheery fabric for these quilts.

The Process Pledge
I came across Rossie's blog quite randomly last week and I'm so glad I did. I totally agree that bloggers should share the processes of their quilt making. I have learned sooo much from other quilting bloggers that shared the ins and outs of their projects. So here's my pledge:

I, Melissa, pledge to talk more about my processes, even when I can’t quite put them in the in words or be sure I’m being totally clear.   I’m going to put my thinking and my gut feelings out there.  

I also came across Naptime Quilter and I love her discussion about modern quilts. Cheryl says "Well, I would now argue that modern quilting is actually just really, really traditional quilting." Reading her thoughts on the subject was kind of an ah-ha moment for me. I love so many antique quilts with their clean, geometric lines. But I also love so many "modern" quilts and she points out  how they really are so similar. It makes me wonder what quilters 100 years from now will think of our "modern" quilts.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival - 2010


I am so excited to share this wall hanging for the Blogger's Quilt Festival.

This all started when I received a couple packages of scraps from two Etsy shops. These darling little gnomes were tucked inside and the second I saw them I knew I had to do something special with them. Right away I decided I'd experiment and create some type of wonky project since I'd never made anything wonky (on purpose :).

I just happened to be in the middle of working on a different project but I couldn't stop thinking about the gnomes. So one stormy night when I couldn't sleep I found a tutorial from Quilt Dad and started cutting. This is the first quilt I've been driven to make for fun that didn't really have a purpose except just to enjoy.

I did learn that a new sharp needle is your friend when you start a new project. My machine was skipping stitches when I first started but a new needle solved that problem.

It was so much fun to work on this! I pulled from my bag of scraps and my stash of fat quarters. There's even a circle print that I spotted in my Mom's home studio stash and she was gracious enough to send it home with me last year! I just love the first little gnome with the rake. He looks in charge and ready to go and I need him to bring his friends to my yard! I've named this wall hanging Garden Friends in their honor.

Besides the gnomes, my other favorite piece is the Black Eyed Susans on the hot pink fabric.

When I try one of these again, I think I'd like to throw in some solids just to give the eyes a place to rest.

I love pieced backs on quilts but I knew this will hang on my wall where I sew, so I used a fun fat quarter for the back. For the quilting, I just stitched in the ditch in a spiral pattern around the wonky logs.

Thanks for visiting and I hope you enjoy all of the inspiration at the Festival. I love reading all the  stories and of course seeing the beautiful quilts. I plan on having my laptop open today to check out entries in between the loads of laundry I'll be catching up on today. I appreciate Amy putting this together for us to enjoy!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Spring to Finish Update

These adorable little Heather Ross gnomes came in a pack of scraps I ordered from an Etsy Shop and I've been itching to do something with them. They've been on my mind so much that I started cutting into my scraps and stash of fat quarters to create something when I couldn't sleep during a stormy night this week. I got the top of the mini quilt finished and I'm hoping to finish the rest for the Blogger's Quilt Festival at the end of the month. I've managed to add another project to my list of things to finish. Yikes!

ETA: See finished gnome wall hanging here.

I've pieced, sandwiched and pinned this charity quilt so it's ready to quilt. My official finish total is still one. And 4 items to bind in the end. I'm getting a little nervous but I'll keep plugging away!


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