Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hummingbird Mug Rug

Hummingbird Mug Rug
Hello friends! I'm having a wonderful day catching up on things and watching Jenna paint at her easel. I thought I'd take a minute and tell you how this little mug rug came about.
Hummingbird Mug Rug Front
When I was visiting my family this summer, my sister Viv and I had such a great time window shopping, going to the AQS quilt show, and visiting an amazing scrapbook store all in Knoxville. I think the best time though, was sitting in her kitchen visiting, drinking coffee and sewing while our girls played. Viv has become quite the quilter herself and she was so generous to give me scraps from her Hushabye quilt. She also had a stack of fabric in her stash that was just beautiful and I oooohhed and awwwed over it. I think they might be Monaluna prints. Before I left, she cut a strip from each of those fabrics for me to take home!
Hummingbird Mug Rug Back
They've been sitting on my shelf for almost 6 months and I take them out every once in a while to look at them and remember what a great time we had. It finally dawned on me that one of the little mug rugs that are all the rage over on Flickr would be perfect for these strips and I could send it to my sister to enjoy.

I experimented quite a bit on this project. Instead of graphing everything out with measurements, I just guessed and cut. I discovered I still need my graph paper! It was the first time I used my walking foot on my Bernina and it was a dream. I also tried a 2 inch binding instead of my usual 2 1/4. I thought it would be nice to have a thinner binding on such a small project. I ended up struggling a bit to get it around the edges and quickly let go of the idea that I would experiment with machine binding. It was very quick to hand stitch the binding though and I still very much enjoy it. I did discover that it's smart to start the binding on a longer side.
Hummingbird Mug Rug - close
So I mailed it off Saturday and hopefully Viv is too busy during the week to read this because I don't think it will get to her until tomorrow. I'm excited to surprise her with something unexpected!

That little blue hummingbird on the brown background is one of my favorites.  I saved back a few little scraps for me to use in something later, so we'll see where it might turn up.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Embroidery Preparation

Birdie Stitches tracing
I managed to get my 1st block for the Birdie Stitches Block of the Month pieced and traced while my husband was out of town. I have a nice little sewing room but set I up the sewing machine in my bedroom in front of the tv for a few days. It was nice to have a bit of noise in the background as I was sewing late at night.

Nice light box, don't you think!

I only remembered to put the stabilizer on the back of the block after I pieced the top and bottom squares. (Distracted by the tv, perhaps?) But I got it on there. I waited a couple of days after I traced the pattern to start my embroidery and my disappearing ink had already started to fade so I had to retrace. I had to laugh. I guess I need to move a little faster! 
Birdie Stitches prep
I started on the snowman with 6 strands and had a very tough time pulling thread through the stabilizer and fabric. So with a sore finger, I headed off to Stitch On to ask for some advice. I got a little rubber circle that I can grab the needle with and help pull it. It reminds me of those rubber jar openers you might have hiding in your kitchen and it cost about $2. I'm going to pull out the little bit of pink I started last night, switch to 4 threads and see if that helps. So far I'm enjoying it and working on getting my stitches a bit more consistent.

It dawned on me last night as I was stitching that this isn't my first embroidery. I worked on a piece while I was visiting family in Tennessee a couple of years ago and haven't finished it up. I need to pull that out and do something with it. Maybe a pillow. I'll keep you posted.

Have you discovered any forgotten UFO's recently?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild - January

Angela Walters @ KCMQG
I headed off to Kansas City last night to hear Angela Walters present some of the quilts she quilted for Tula Pink and to discuss her quilting process. Angela's quilting is just amazing and it was so interesting to hear how she approaches a quilt and how she decides what designs to quilt.

Quite a few members have collaborated with Angela on their quilts and we've gotten to see them over the past year. But what a treat to see her quilting on Tula's beautiful fabric and quilt designs! Jacquie from Tallgrass Prairie Studio has also worked with Angela and you can see some examples here and here. Jacquie's Selvage Quilt is probably my all time favorite quilt, both for the quilt top and the quilting. I'm a big lover of historical architecture and something about this quilt brings to mind beautiful architectural elements that I've taken a thousand photos of over the years. All of these links show details of Angela's work...you'll enjoy taking a look.

Members could bring a quilt top and ask Angela for quilting ideas on their particular project. Not only did we get to see some inspiring quilts but also got tons and tons of quilting ideas for both beginning and experienced quilters. I brought this quilt to share and have enough ideas that I might try to quilt it myself in something other than straight lines.

Next month, Alissa Carlton will be visiting our guild all the way from California. She blogs at  Handmade by Alissa  and is co-author of Block Party--The Modern Quilting Bee: The Journey of 12 Women, 1 Blog, & 12 Improvisational Projects. How cool is that!?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Little Sunshine

Cutting into Sunkissed
We had a big snowstorm here yesterday and got to have a snow day at home. Today brought sunshine but very cold temperatures. Cutting into this layer cake of Sunkissed added some warmth to a beautiful bright day. I'm following along with Little Miss Shabby's Block of the Month. I wanted to try some embroidery and I fell in love with the sweet bird on the first block. 

Scraps would have been perfect in this quilt but I don't have a very big scrap collection yet.  I considered a few different lines of fabric but in the end decided on Sunkissed. I've never been a huge fan of gray, especially gray and yellow paired. I've seen some great sashes done with gray that are beautiful but I've never considered using it myself. When I saw the prints in Sunkissed though, I remembered how much I love pink and gray together. I thought this might be a good chance to stretch a bit and use gray instead of white and be able to mix in the soft yellows and oranges. You might enjoy seeing some of the fabrics other people have chosen and posted on Flickr.
Snow Day
I'm so glad we got a chance to play in the snow yesterday and today because it will be way too cold to get out tomorrow. We baked yummy sugar cookies and had plenty to share with friends and neighbors.
Cookie Bake
Hope you are all staying warm and cozy!

Monday, January 10, 2011

No Prints Allowed Challenge

kona charm packs
We had quite an exciting Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild meeting in December. Robert Kaufman donated 100 charm square packs of Kona solids to our guild for our latest challenge...The No Prints Allowed Challenge!

Here's the challenge:

Use each and every charm somewhere on the front or back.
Use any additional fabric as long as it's solid.
Share your project at March's guild meeting and via your blog/flickr.
Kaufman charms
I had a hard time deciding between the dark charm square pack and the bright one. I ended up going with the bright which seemed to be the most popular of the night. I've had this pack opened up and arranged different ways around the house. I wanted to be able to see all the colors at one time. Then they sit in one spot and each time I pass I consider ideas for using the charms. After a while they get shuffled and rest in a new spot. They are finally up in my sewing room and I think I have the beginnings of a plan. I'm still not quite ready to cut....but I'm close.

I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with. It was amazing to see the projects from the last challenge (Project Plume). We have some very talented quilters in our guild! Shea from The Empty Bobbin has a couple of great pictures of the last challenge and this is my table runner in progress and completed. I gifted it to my sister for her birthday and we were just talking the other day about how much we love the bird print on the back. 

Do you have a favorite solid?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Special Scraps

The stomach bug finally got me Monday afternoon. I'm just so thankful we didn't all have it at the same time and that my wonderful husband could spend some time at home Tuesday so I could recuperate. I'm finally feeling perky today and trying to get caught up on things here at home. I was really bummed to miss out on meeting with my small quilt group but we have some exciting things coming up this year.
Scrap Bowls

I thought I'd share how I'm storing my "Special Scraps" at the moment. I purchased this shelf about 20 years ago and have always loved it. It was in my daughter's nursery when she was a baby and held her little board books. Her collection of books has expanded into a larger shelf in 4 years so this made it's way across the hall into my sewing room. It holds vintage bowls along with some pottery from Tennessee that I labeled with simple manila tags.

The top bowl is from Tennessee and holds Jenna's scraps that she can cut, glue, and create with. The middle bowl is from my mother-in-law's kitchen and holds scraps for a ticker tape quilt I hope to make someday. And the bottom bowl is from an antique store and holds selvages.

Ticker Tape Scraps
It's so easy to just sort these small scraps into an open container as I cut or clean up from a project. We'll see what I do when the bowls get full. I imagine I will just empty out the bowl into a larger container and keep using the bowl to collect scraps. I still have a bit of organizing to do in that closet. All in good time.... 

Are you collecting scraps for anything special? 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Stain Removal

My little family headed out to western Kansas this week for the funeral of a dear friend's father. I took along my hexagon doll quilt so I could work on the hand applique. 
Somehow, either hot cocoa or coffee came in contact with the quilt top. The cup holders are right beside me so I'm sure the top fell that way and soaked up a little drip. Panic! Luckily I remembered that I'd been carrying around a Tide2Go pen in my purse and whipped it out to see what could be done.
I found these at Target and picked them up because my daughter and I usually end up with something on us when we are out. It alleviates a lot of stress and I was hoping it would come to my rescue again.

I tried to just dot a bit of the solution on the fabric but quite a lot came out on the first try. I used the tip for some scrubbing action then blotted with bottled water to make a less definite water line. I was worried the stain remover would leave a stain (Yes, I can find something to worry about at all times!). It dried nicely and you'd never know it happened. I might have to keep one of these in my sewing kit for emergencies like this.
I'm getting a chance to work on this quilt again today since the stomach bug hit our house about 2:00 this morning. Thank goodness I've been okay and can care for everyone and stay on top of the laundry! I'm spending some time sitting beside Jenna watching movies with this quilt top in my hand. We are disappointed to miss a visit with friends who flew in this morning but thankful it hit before they arrived so they weren't exposed.

Hope all is well with you and that you've enjoyed this first day of the year!


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