Friday, December 28, 2012

Gift presented

I finished the pink and white DesignBuilder quilt for my coworker's baby last week. She is back from maternity leave, and we had a chance to work together yesterday. Before she left, I was able to give her the quilt.

I think she really liked it. She said she didn't have anything handmade! We took a picture, and then she noticed the label on the back--and was amazed that I stitched the label by hand. Then she noticed the flowers quilting and had to turn it back to the front--and realized it was echoing the Dresden flower block. She thought it was so cool!

I really enjoy giving handmade gifts for babies.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Matching stripes

LOL. Giggle.

I had you going, huh? Nope, I'm not trying some new modern quilt. I'm wrapping Christmas presents! And birthday presents, too.

This paper has big stripes, so it was easy to use the stripes for cutting guides, then match the stripes to keep the paper straight and look neat.

Since my little guy's birthday is right after Christmas, we always plan the Christmas budget to split up the presents for him, some for Christmas and some for birthday. Whew, I think I'm all done. So no sewing again tonight.

I have this cool new tool, designed just for cutting wrapping paper. This one is from Scotch brand.

Slip the bottom tongue-shape under the paper so that the wrapping paper slides between the tongue and the upper guides. These guides are the blade-guards. Then simply push the tool away from you, and the paper cuts as it glides away!

Then turn the tool upside down, and there are two ridges in a V-shape between the tongue and handle. It's for curling ribbon! Grip the tool, lay the ribbon over the grooves with your thumb on top and a bit of pressure, and run the ribbon over the grooves. Wa-la! Curled ribbon! Which is way more safe than using scissor blades!

Oh wait, I got some more hand-embroidery done on the label for the yellow baby quilt. Yesterday, I got the label done and slip-stitched to the pink-and white baby quilt. Yay!

Friday, December 21, 2012

More fabric goodness

Yay! I got more fabric in the mail today! I know I've done some splurging lately, but this is some fabric I've been wanting to buy, and cuts I've been wanting to try. Plus, I just want to be a bit girly, too. I'm the only girl in my house, and I do love quilting for my boys. However, I've gotten hooked on girly quilts lately, while I've been working on girl quilts for gifts.

And I guess as you can tell from the picture, Riley Blake Designs is my new favorite designer. Besides being local to where I live, they just have cute designs. I had to get more from Craftsy because of the great deals. I also realized that Riley Blake cuts usually contain about half of what most other cuts by other companies have. For example, a jelly roll typically has 40 strips. Riley Blake Rolie Polies seem to have about 20 strips. . So I needed to get two of the same roll to equal enough for the Jelly Roll Quilts book patterns.
Also, A typical layer cake has about 40 pieces, and Riley Blake's "Stackers" seem to have about 21, which I wish I'd realized when I placed my order. That seemed to apply to the charm stackers, too.

I was trying not to spend too much, but I wish I'd bought more, at those prices..

But that doesn't diminish how pleased I am with the beautiful fabric!

Left to right Rolie Polies: Prairie Rose, and two of "So Sophie".
A charm stacker of "Willow" and a 10" stacker of "Pieces of Hope".

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Celtic Snowflakes

There are some benefits to watching movies on a big screen, with HD and a BluRay player--even more gorgeous pictures! We watched Disney's "Brave" with the boys. And I got a wonderful surprise when the credits rolled--beautiful Celtic knot snowflakes as the background art! They showed up beautifully with the BluRay. I just about swooned, they were so pretty!
(Yes, I'm sure you know by now about my obsession with stars and snowflakes, and Celtic designs. So when you combine all three, I'm in heaven!)

I had sugar-plum visions in my head about those snowflakes as quilting stencils on quilts, and fusible bias-tape quilt blocks for a winter quilt! (This is a technique I want to teach myself this next year.) My husband and I immediately conducted Google image searches for Celtic snowflakes and quilts, and the search pulled up the most beautiful designs. Lots of jewelry, crochet and tatting patterns, ornaments for the tree., some were even stained glass art! I will share some of my favorites.

1-- Silver tree ornaments. I love how the centers of the snowflakes are tiny Claddaghs, joined together.

2-- My favorite! I just had to purchase this set of stencils! They shipped quickly, are made of Mylar, and the owner is so helpful.

3-- Very pretty rubber stamps.

4-- Really nice article and picture about a cross-stitch snowflake. I enjoy cross-stitching too!

Teri has some beautiful artwork that she sells digital pdf's for. You can print them after paying. She has snowflakes borders, Celtic Christmas trees, whimsical and more traditional art. She's British and seems to have a wonderful sense of humor!
6--Delicious Doodles also sells her designs on, which is a seller site for digitized artwork.

7-- urban Threads designs digitized machine embroidery for sale with download in a variety of formats for different machine brands i.e Bernina and others.

Oh yes, and these cute paper snowflakes were made by my 3-yr-old and myself this week. I'm quite pleased at how they turned out! He practiced cutting skills, and I practiced designing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pieced backing

I thought I would try something different with the yellow/gray quilt. Since it is 48x48" finished, it is wider than a standard width of fabric. I usually just handle that by cutting a strip the required width (plus the extra required for layering and quilting take-up) and sew it on. This time, I decided to watch the free Craftsy class called "Creative Quilt Backs" or something like that. So even though I'm not much of a modern quilter, I learned some things that I will share.

I decided to slash and tear the backing off-center and insert a pieced strip. The teacher advised not to insert a strip down the center, because it's hard to line up centers while layering, and they could shift while quilting. Then your eyes notice the differences!

I cut two strips 4 1/2 by WOF for yellow and pieced them together. Then I cut a few strips of the dark gray 4 1/2" wide. I had to piece a bunch of strips together of the grey because I only had fat quarters for that color. Then I strip-pieced the yellow and gray strips together, cut them at 4 1/2" wide across the strip unit and made four-patch units. Then I pieced the four-patch units in a strip 8 1/2" wide until I had my desired length of about 52".

By the way, I'm pressing all seams open to reduce bulk on the backing!

Next, I learned from the Craftsy class, that to piece your strip into the two backing pieces, mark all the centers of the strips, then pin together at the centers, then pin working your way out to the ends. Don't just add strips and line them up from the top or bottom! Working from the centers out gives a more uniform, centered quilt back, and if your layers shift at all during quilting, then they won't slide off an end that's too short and not have enough backing. Wow. I wouldn't have thought of that, but it makes sense!

Learning and trying new things is a huge part of why I love to quilt. There's always something new to learn or try, and I like to challenge myself just a little with each project. That way, I'm always growing!