Friday, March 17, 2017

Finish it up Friday: Skeleton Quilt completed

 And just like that, the skeleton quilt is completed!  Yay!  I rented the longarm on Monday and had it bound that evening (just the machine binding part).  During a few evenings this week, I managed to sneak in the hand sewing of the binding.

For long-arming it, I chose a digital spiderweb pattern, stitched in black thread.  I think it looks awesome on the white skulls, it's not very noticeable on the rest of the busy quilt.

All of the fabrics on the front have glow in the dark properties, except for the solid black framing the skeleton blocks.  The skeleton block pattern is from the new book by Tula Pink and Angela Walters: Quilt with Tula and Angela: A Start to Finish Guide to Piecing and Quilting Using Color and Shape.  Newcomers to this blog might wonder why I am blogging a "Halloween" quilt in March.  My son is completely obsessed with all things Halloween and this quilt will be on his bed year round.

I decided to put all my leftovers from the front onto the back (with a few other cuts lingering endlessly in my stash).  Usually I am happy to have leftovers from a quilt front to use in other projects, but I don't see myself making another Halloween, glow in the dark kind of quilt anytime soon, if ever!

Another sewing project I've been working on was making a stuffed animal with my son for a first grade school project.  He chose a "Black Mamba" - which apparently are green in coloring with black mouths.  Instructions from his teacher for this project indicated that you could make a stuffed animal with poster board and wadded up grocery sacks for stuffing.  I just knew that making the "real thing" with fabric and fiberfill would be easier- but I have to admit that I am a little worried the teacher might think making this that way is too advanced, suspecting I did everything for him.  But I really tried to have him take the lead: he drew the snake shape on the fabric, pushed the foot pedal and helped me guide the fabrics, he did all the stuffing himself, and he did most of the hand sewing, for closing the gap, himself.  He chose the buttons and eye placements too.  He is really happy with how it came out and had to take it to bed with him after it was completed.  He doesn't look so happy in this picture but I know he just wasn't happy to have to take a picture.  

On the evening we were going to make the snake, he went into my sewing room and discovered the skeleton quilt that I had hidden in the closet.  I was disappointed because I wanted to surprise him and present it to him when it was completely finished.  Oh well.  He was super excited about it and repeatedly said, "I love you so much!"

This afternoon, I hosted a little post-preschool birthday party lunch for my daughter.  We did it at home and kept it very simple with a princess theme.  Here's an easy decoration idea: I placed a big piece of Ann Kelle princess fabric onto a $1 pink plastic table cloth.  

Linking up to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

A Dress and the Skeleton Quilt Top

My sweet daughter turned 5 years old last week.  I made her a dress in time for preschool picture day and her birthday.  As a family, we all went to Denver and enjoyed a visit to the Children's Museum.  As I continue to struggle with homesickness for New England, I find that taking advantage of visiting such unique places helps- we even decided to buy a membership.  

I returned to the Me Hearties dress pattern and chose a Lizzy House knit (from the clearance section at Hawthorne Threads):

Here's some "action" shots of gift opening:

Like an idiot, I deleted all of my pictures of some baby gifts I recently completed for a friend.  Here's a screen shot of their documentation on IG: size 6 month baby boy Quick Change Trousers:

Last week, I immediately dove into making Gregory's skeleton quilt.  Having completed the skull blocks at the retreat, this top came together came together rapidly.  I put it together in a bit of an "improvisational" way: I told myself I would aim for the size of 78" x 90" and I was eager to use up as much of the glow in the dark fabrics as possible (because I don't see myself making another similar quilt anytime soon and those fabrics wouldn't play well in other projects).

Here's how it came out:

Although you can't see his face in these pictures, Gregory is very happy with this quilt.  We got the skeleton costume for a $1 at a yard sale the day after I finished this top: perfect timing!  I have already scheduled time to rent a longarm to quilt this top on Monday, March 13 (yes giving that business another try since it's my only local option!).

I have to admit that I am a little self conscious about this quilt because it is kind of creepy.  I don't want people to think I am obsessed with creepy stuff or even that Gregory is either!  I had originally wanted to make the sugar skull pieced blocks with several bright solid fat quarters from my stash and just a plain black background AND put that darn skeleton panel on the back of the quilt.  But I know Gregory wouldn't have been thrilled with that idea and was very insistent on using that panel on the front.  It's so difficult to use panels!  This is why I was quite thrilled with the outcome of the Harry Potter quilt.

I do think Gregory will enjoy using this quilt all year round and he's been bugging me to make him it for quite a while.  It's so much easier (and often more enjoyable) to sew for Charlotte but I don't want him to feel left out.

I'll be back soon with a post showcasing the completed quilt!  Thanks for reading.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Finish it up Friday: Kittens Quilt

 In February, an important project sneaked into my list of projects.  A sweet girl in my church has been battling cancer and I offered to make her a quilt.  Her mom told me she loves cats, which was a pretty easy directive for me and my stash!

I made a "solids version" of the Kittens Quilt, pattern by Elizabeth Hartman.  I really debated trying to make the kitten face version of the pattern (much more detailed with eyes and nose), but I felt it was important to make this quilt fast for the recipient.  Of course, I didn't use solids, but found lots of kitty themed fabrics and blenders in my stash and framed them in this berry colored solid.  My daughter Charlotte loves cats, so pulling these fabrics together wasn't too difficult.  If it had been any other animal, I probably would've had to go shopping!

Before the FRMQG retreat I cut all of the pieces, and on the Friday night of the retreat (at 2 AM, so I guess it was technically Saturday), the top was completed.

I was very unsure of how to quilt this quilt.   The dark purple sashing and the much lighter colored fabrics seemed to require lots of different colored threads... I didn't think I would have the patience for that.  I leaned towards trying an "invisible" (monofilament) thread but my LQS was out of stock.  I took a look at their variegated Sulky selection and chose a thread that had the colors of plum, cream, gray, and a mustard yellow: perfect!

During the first night of quilting this quilt on my domestic machine, I ran into some really bad tension problems.  I spent almost an hour ripping out some bad quilting and then went to bed.  The next day, I researched quilting tension issues and found that my needle tension really needed to be raised: up to a seven (!), whereas my normal tension is set at a 4.  This is resulted in some upper thread breakages occasionally, but it didn't happen often enough to make me want to give up.

Here's some close up pictures of some of my favorite prints I included in this quilt:

For the backing, I dug out some serious stash lurkers: the white on yellow polka dot was meant to be a bag lining but I ended up finding a different print I liked better.  You can see there are two kitten blocks: this was because I accidentally made two extra blocks and didn't want them languishing in my orphan block pile for forever.

The print to the right is a quirky Michael Miller fabric I've had for about a decade (one of my first Marden's finds)!  Isn't it perfect for this quilt!?

I bound the quilt in a Patty Young stripe.

 It feels good to start and finish a quilt so quickly.  I had a lot of fun making it and I hope the recipient enjoys it and will find some comfort in it.

Linking up to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.