Finished Projects

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Grandma was "tickled" with her new quilt. That's grandma-speak for really ridiculously* excited. She told my mom that she uses it every night when she's sitting in her chair watching TV, and that she can't believe how warm it is. I used a different batting than I usually do so I wonder if that has anything to do with it. I normally buy the queen size Warm and Natural batting when it's on sale. It's regular price $40 but Jo Ann's will mark it down to $20 from time to time.

This time around, I used a fusible batting by Tailor, I believe, which I found to be a little more difficult to work with. I suppose if you were doing something smaller it would be fine, but I had big problems with getting it to actually fuse to the fabric. In the end, I pinned everything down because I didn't trust it to not move. I also think the batting made the whole quilt a bit too tough.

A pretty simple palate
I've also started a new paper piecing project. This one is a small wall hanging that I can't say much about because it's a gift for someone. Here's a sneak peak at the fabric I'm using. I hope to have it done soon so I can bind it while sitting at work Friday night and send it out Saturday.

My other Top Secret Paper Piecing Project has been irritating me. I think I'm just frustrated with the whole piecing-the-pieces-together part of it. I can't handle mirror images. I'm not Da Vinci, you know.

*And that's Zoolander-speak.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Boxed In is complete! Well, except for the tag part of it. I've been doing a little online research this evening trying to figure out the best way to do that.

I tossed it in the wash when I got home from work and it softened up quite nicely. The darker brown fabric was a little rough and I was afraid it would stay like that. I think after another wash it'll be perfect.

I've decided to name this quilt "Betty's Blocks" since it's going to my grandma......and her name is Betty.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thinking outside the box...

"Boxed In" is going pretty well. Considering I started it during winter break, I think it's progressing nicely. Yesterday, I began the tedious task of free motion quilting. Why tedious?

Because I have no idea what the heck I'm doing.

I've read plenty of tutorials and watched many videos, but was still nervous to try it out myself. I stared at this thing for days trying to figure out how to quilt it. I finally decided to try stippling the insides of the boxes. I quickly determined I suck at stippling. I switched over to loops and actually liked the look a lot. Plus, it was pretty simple!

I quilted the blocks with clear thread, but switched over to cotton when I began working on the inside border. I used a tan thread plus a dark brown bobbin to match the backing fabric.

Quilting the border
I don't think I'm going to do anything on the wider outside border, but I will quilt the corner squares. My goal tonight is to get the binding stitched on so I can sit at work tomorrow hand sewing it to the back.

I'd like to make a tag for the back before I give it away, but I don't quite know how to go about that. I don't know if you're supposed to embroider tags and stitch them on, or if you can find some sort of special pen to hand write it?? I don't think I have any readers yet, but if I do, and you know what I'm talking about, what advice do you have for making tags?

You're not leaving until it's done!

(*This post was written following this guideline: Apparently it's not necessary to use two spces after a period anymore. It makes me feel awkward.)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My sewing machine sits cold and lonely...

I haven't done any sewing this weekend, and that's pretty sad.  Although, when I came home from work today, I found a paper pieced pattern waiting in my inbox.  I'm going to start it right after dinner.  I can't post any other information or pictures because it'll be a surprise for someone, but once she receives it, you can be sure I'll get a picture up!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I figured since the last post was about a quilt in progress, I'd post a picture of one I'd actually finished.

It should be noted that this quilt took me a year and a half to complete!  I'm not sure if the pattern was incorrect or if I made a mistake reading it, but I would get frustrated and toss it into a drawer, not to look at it again for a couple months.

The pattern is called "My Corner of the Universe" and I originally found it on Etsy, but it seems that now you can only find it here.  The spot in the center of Pennsylvania is State College, the home of my alma mater, the superfantastic Penn State University.

The pattern calls for 20 shades of gradated blues.  I was looking for shades of navy, but it was impossible to find that much fabric between Jo Ann's and quilt shops.  Plus, I didn't like having to buy fabrics with different patterns.

My quilt teacher suggested I get hand-dyed fabric.  I found a FABULOUS Etsy store called Ruby Mountain Dye Works.  I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful it was to work with Karen.  She's awesome at messaging you back and helps you figure out just exactly what colors you're looking for.  What we ended up working out were 15 shades of navy/indigo that I was able to edit the pattern to use.  I'm currently discussing black and gold shades with her now.  I plan on editing the pattern to reflect Pittsburgh.

So here it is, the finished product.  It became a Christmas present for my brother-in-law & sister-in-law.  I had originally machine stitched the binding, but it didn't look very nice at all.  I ended up ripping out those stitches and hand sewed it.  The end result was perfect!  I attached tabs at the top as well for hanging.

(By the way, if you didn't know, the response to "WE ARE..." is "...PENN STATE!")

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Boxed in...and going crazy

I have a tendency to download and save quilt patterns that I like.  A lot.  Which in turn means that I have many quilt patterns available, but have not yet tried any of them.  You should also know that I'm a big procrastinator.  I just can't help myself sometimes- I'm lazy and not ashamed.

So before winter break, I was browsing through my quilt patterns folder and spotted "Boxed In" from the Moda Bake Shop.  The "ingredients" for this "recipe" call for border, backing, and binding fabric as well as a layer cake.

::insert blank expression::  Neither cat knew what I was talking about.

Layer cake, eh?  Fortunately, Moda's site has definitions for all these fancy schmancy packs of fabric.  A layer cake, boys and girls, is a package of 42 squares of fabric cut down to 10".  Of course, there are also honey buns, jelly rolls, dessert rolls, and turnovers to complete the sweet theme.

Cutting the fabric down
Sadly, I had no pretty layer cakes within my fabric collection, and it takes me over half an hour to get to my favorite quilt shop.  But what I did have was a fabric bundle from Jo Ann's that I bought at some point last year, plus some coordinating fabric.  Thus began the tedious job of cutting down all that fabric into 10" squares.  I'm sure it wouldn't have been so bad, but again...lazy

So I cut down the fat quarters into 5" blocks and hacked up a few yards of light and dark brown into uneven sashing to go around each one.  Then the sewing marathon began.
Stitched block

I sewed blocks for what seemed like days.  Let's do the math:

25 blocks x 5 pieces of fabric = 125 parts

Maybe that's not a lot.  I don't know.  I'm new to this.

I jumped back and forth between assembling the blocks themselves and stitching together the rows.  I just can't focus on the same task for too long.
Laying out blocks and rows

I used post it's to keep my rows in order.  I sketched out a plan of the blocks before cutting so I could see what colors go where and how many I needed of each.  I wanted to make sure they were evenly scattered throughout the quilt top.

I also adjusted the pattern slightly before beginning my own project.  The original design called for smaller inner and outer borders.  My version resulted in an inner border measuring 2" after sewing and an outer border of 5".  I also added corner blocks to the outer border using leftover fabric from the center of the squares.
Finished quilt top
I'm stuck now.  The backing has been pieced and my sandwich is pinned and ready to be quilted, but I just don't have it in myself to start that process.  I want to free motion quilt the top, but I'm not very good at it and I'm afraid of messing up.

Let's be honest.  I'll probably just chicken out and stitch in the ditch.

(I took these pictures with my phone.  That's why they don't look so perty.)