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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

NTT Y'all!

Welcome to August (seriously...August!), and another awesome week of Needle and Thread Thursday, friends!  I'm trying to stay extra pumped up, because it's kind of the total opposite of the way I'm feeling this week.  I am exhausted!  Getting back to school is always exciting, but making my body realize that the wee hours of the morning is an unacceptable bed time is a tough trick these days.

Of course, I haven't exactly been putting my feet up at the end of the day either.  How could I possibly do something silly like sleep when The Beast needs quilting and binding!  I finally finished the quilting tonight, and hopefully I'll get it bound tomorrow night.  So, beyond my posts HERE and HERE, I don't have any other pics just yet.  Maybe by Friday!

All of this also adds up to the fact that I've been a less attentive blog friend than usual, and for that, I apologize.  Once I get into the swing of the school year, I'll have a lot more time.

So, on to the awesomeness that was shared at last week's Needle and Thread Thursday!

Kelsey at Everyday Fray linked this really cute duffel bag-

Caroline's Craftiness shared this sweet baby hourglass quilt-

and Candace at Saltwater Quilts linked up this fabulously fun tumbler quilt!

I can't wait to see what you're working on this week!  

Remember the guidelines-

1.  You can link finished projects or WIP's , but just keep it about quilting and sewing!
2. Link to your specific post to make it easier for others.
3. Spread the word and post my button or a text link. (the NTT button is on my sidebar)
4. Spread the comment love far and wide!
5. Following me is not a requirement to link, but is so very appreciated!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Slow Going

Last weekend we visited my family, and I took this stack of quilts to show-

Yes, that's 11 quilts folks.  They took up an entire seat in the car, and I almost wanted to buckle them in for safety.  I don't know if you do this, but I get awfully protective of my quilts.

Well, I should say that technically, there are 10 quilts, and one quilt top, because that stack includes The Beast.  The Beast is my name for my latest quilt.  No- not the official name that I'll put on the quilt label, but that's just what I tend to call it in my own head.  Not because of the way it looks, but because of the size and weight of it.  Last night, I basted it (basting is the devil), and tonight, I started quilting.   I had to take a picture of it on my machine just to give you an idea of how massive it is.  It is 80 x 100, which is the largest quilt I've ever made- except for my first one, but since that one's a bit of a mess, it doesn't really count.

Between going out of town this weekend, starting back to school yesterday, and the sheer size of this thing making each step take longer, I feel like this quilt is taking forever to get finished.  I much prefer my summertime "one quilt a week" schedule.

Tonight, I managed to finish half of the quilting though, so that's some progress at least.  I'm doing a simple meander so that I don't add too much busy stitching to the already busy fabric.

I can't wait to get the quilting finished and take some good pictures in the daylight!  But for now, I think I'll just rest my arms and shoulders from fighting the weight of The Beast with all of this FMQ.

Friday, July 26, 2013

One Last Summer Hurrah

Well y'all, I have to head back to school on Monday, so I've been working like mad on my Disappearing Four Patch quilt top.  I used the tutorial at Material Girl Quilts, and Amanda explains it beautifully with great pics.  The only thing I did differently, was start with six inch blocks for my four patches, rather than charm squares.  In retrospect, for such a large quilt, I may have gone even bigger.  The D4P blocks finish at 10 inches in the quilt.

*how did I not notice that this picture is blurry???  The thing is so huge that I am not taking it back outside with all of the dew still on the grass!

Let me just say this- although this pattern is not difficult, I did find it time consuming.  I guess any pattern that requires double cutting, double pressing, and double sewing probably would be.  Of course, it doesn't help that the quilt I'm making is a monstrous 80 x 100 inches.  It's a beast!

I decided to pull out my 40 FQ bundle of April Cornell Spring Magic fabrics that I've had for over three  years (since before my wrist injury).   I have to admit- I still really like these fabrics.  Even though they are florals, the colors are really vibrant and drool-worthy for any girly girl.

There was one thing I wish I had done in this quilt top, which is to trim my blocks to size.  I really don't know what I was thinking by not doing that, I think I was just overzealous to get the top done.  I just pressed them, laid them out, and started sewing them together.  That really jumped up and bit me in the behind when joining my rows.  Some of the seams didn't match perfectly, and at that point, there really wasn't a darn thing I could do.  Hopefully, the pattern is busy enough that it won't be too noticeable, and quilting will help too.

This quilt needs a great name- sooner rather than later since my label goes on right after basting but before quilting!  The fabrics remind me of English chintz dinnerware, so I was thinking of something along the lines of "Afternoon Tea Time," or "Rose Cottage," but I'm not really sold on either of those.  I love the word "garden" but I've used it in two quilt names already, so I'm trying to stay away from it.

If you have a great name idea (or even if you don't!), leave me a comment!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Time to Get Inspired- It's Needle and Thread Thursday!

Or, maybe I should say inspire me, because that's what you do each and every week!  I'm sure this week will be just as fabulous.

Personally, I've been spending my time elsewhere for the most part.  Yep, you guessed it- in my classroom.  It's almost finished.  I just have a few finishing touches to add when I get my list of students.

After finishing my French Quarter Charm quilt earlier this week, I did accomplish a little bit of sewing, though some of it is still school related.  My principal decided that our school's front lobby needed a makeover and enlisted the help of several teachers with various creative skills.  I sewed these cute panels to dress up the gray cubicle around the front desk.  I can't take credit for the burlap hanger though!

Because the whole front area is in a bit of disarray with the facelift in progress, I couldn't really photograph the panels in their entirety, but there are 5 of them surrounding the desk area.  They're made of duck cloth, which I've never sewed before, so that was a new experience.  I was glad to do my part for my fantastic school!

Just today, I've been super busy making four patches and turning them into disappearing four patches.  I have to make a total of 80 of them for my next quilt, and I'm over halfway done.  More on that later!

Lastly, I know this is a quilting blog, so I won't wear you out with details, but I can't help sharing a few pictures of where I've been spending most of my time these last few days.

I will let you know that our school was built in the early 1970's (I think), so we aren't equipped with a sprinkler system.  As such, lots of the cute fabricy things I would like to do are a no-no according to our fire marshal.  We're also severely limited on the amount of wall space we can have covered with posters and stuff.  So, I just have to work to make it cute within the parameters I've been given.

Check it out-

I can't wait to get my list of students and finish it up!

Soooo...last week's party was filled with fabulousness.  Here are a few things that I especially loved-

Jan at Sew and Sow Farm shared this Civil War Sampler made with Pam Kitty Love fabrics.  I love the bright modern twist on this traditional design.

Diann at Little Penguin Quilts shared her finished Scrappy Trip top.  I'm such a sucker for a Scrappy Trip.  I think I'm going to have to make one soon!

And Sarah, from Sarah Quilts linked this really cool applique project.  I love the whimsical feeling of this!

So, on to this week's party!  Don't forget the guidelines-

1.  You can link finished projects or WIP's , but just keep it about quilting and sewing!
2. Link to your specific post to make it easier for others.
3. Spread the word and post my button or a text link. (the NTT button is on my sidebar)
4. Spread the comment love far and wide!
5. Following me is not a requirement to link, but is so very appreciated!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Quilt Story is Feeling Groovy!

I am over the moon excited that my Carnaby Street x+ quilt, Feeling Groovy is being featured on Quilt Story!  What an honor!

I hope you'll click on the button to hop over and check it out, y'all!

Quilt Story

Sunday, July 21, 2013

French Quarter Charm

I just love this Chateau Rouge fabric by French General.  The fabrics are vintage French prints, and having been born and raised in South Louisiana, this quilt feels like a piece of home to me.

The rich red, warm golden tan, and weathered olive colors look just right with wrought iron, fleur de lis, and Spanish moss;  and will look perfect draped across my grandparents' sofa in their South Louisiana home. 

I chose to quilt with a meandering stitch, and bound the quilt with Kona Chocolate.  The binding isn't super matchy, but I like how the warm brown frames the quilt.

As a nod to all the beauty of my home state, I'm calling this quilt French Quarter Charm.  I love that these fabrics are fantastically French inspired without being kitschy.

I know my grandmother will love this quilt, and I can't wait to show it to her this weekend- when I go for a visit back home.

Quilt Labels- the Cute and Easy Way!

I've had so many questions and comments lately regarding my quilt labels.  So, I decided to create a separate tutorial explaining how I do them.  Enjoy!

When I first started quilting, I never labeled my quilts.  I thought it had to be something fancy, or hand embroidered, and let's face it- I just didn't want one more step getting in the way of my finished quilt!

So, why should you label your quilt?  Because you are creating a work of art and a piece of history, and you should be proud of it!  Here's my method to make a really simple, but really cute label that doesn't involve the computer, other special tools, or hand stitching- because I really hate hand stitching!

Before we get started, you should have your quilt all basted with the excess backing and batting trimmed away, leaving just a couple of inches all the way around your quilt.  I always attach the label after basting, but before quilting for a few reasons-

1.  I can sew the label to only the backing fabric on my machine.  That means no hand stitching, and no
     stitches showing on the front of the quilt!

2.  If I baste first and trim away the excess, I can be certain that my label is placed exactly where I want
     it.  If I attached it to the backing before basting, I might end up cutting my label away!

3. When I quilt through my label, I am sure that it can't be removed easily.  It's there for the long haul!

Materials You'll Need-

* A very fine tipped permanent fabric pen- I have used a Pigma micron pen, as well as the Dritz brand fabric pen.  I'm sure there are others out there, but these are the two I've used.

Later, when we attach the trim pieces, you'll use a very hot iron, and this should heat set the ink.  I've never had any trouble with my pen bleeding or fading.  Others have told me though that they have had the ink bleed when it was not set with heat.

*A piece of white or other light colored solid fabric that matches your quilt (I usually just keep Kona White on hand)

*Your fabric scraps- at least four 1 inch strips

That's it!

I love the personal touch that handwritten labels give to a quilt, and with this method, you can create a label that matches your quilt perfectly!

Start with a piece of plain white or light colored fabric.  Use a permanent fabric pen to write whatever you want on your label.  Writing on fabric is not as simple as you might think.  Hold the fabric taut, and use the pen lightly so it doesn't catch on the grain of the fabric.  You may want to practice on a scrap piece of fabric to get the feel of it!

At the very least, it should have your name and the date.  I've also included the name of my quilt on my label.  Don't worry about centering it too much, but don't write right beside the edge either.

Use your ruler to trim away excess fabric, leaving half an inch all the way around your words.  See...all centered!

Then choose four of your fabrics from your scraps.  Cut in one inch strips and sew to the edges, trimming off any extra length.  Press your label with starch, and use your rotary cutter and ruler to trim the border to the same width all around.  I usually trim to 3/4 inch, but this is your choice.

 Turn your quilt over and find the bottom left corner (as you are looking at the back).  Remove a few of the pins from that corner, about 3 or 4 should do it.

Affix your label to the backing in that corner with pins, or you could use basting spray on the back of the label to hold it in place while stitching.  Separate the three layers and zig-zag stitch the label all the way around to the backing ONLY.  Be extra careful not to catch any of your batting or quilt top in this process.

Sew only to the backing fabric!

Backstitch to lock your stitches in place.  Voila!  An adorable and quick label!

Finally, turn your quilt back over, smooth it out, and replace the pins.  Then just quilt as you normally would.  Now and forever more, anyone who looks at your marvelous quilt will know who made it, and when!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Chateau Rouge Top

We are in our very last weekend of baseball- The World Series!  So, we have practically been living at the baseball field for the past couple of days.  I did manage however, to get my grandmother's quilt top finished- hooray!

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm using Chateau Rouge by French General fabrics.  I opted for a very simple, modified rail fence pattern.  To keep the prints intact as much as possible, I made the center rail wider than the others.  

Since the seams shortened my layer cake square to 9.5 inches, I ended up having to trim my blocks down in the other direction as well.  That's really the only thing that bothers me about doing the pattern this way.  I just hate cutting off perfectly good fabric- even if it is only half an inch!

There is one little mistake in the top.  Well, technically it's not a mistake, but I would have preferred that the fabrics be placed differently.  I don't know how I didn't notice it before.  Do you see it?  Look toward the top right side at the yellow rectangle that is completely bordered by red.  It looks boxy and kind of stands out- and it's the only place in the quilt that's like that.  Oh well!  There's nothing to be done about it now.

Tomorrow (between more baseball), I'll get this baby basted, and maybe even start on the quilting to wind down the day.  That's how I roll on a Saturday night- wild and crazy, I tell you!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Needle and Thread Thursday 7/18

Welcome to Needle and Thread Thursday!

First, I'll fill you in on what I've been doing around here.  On Monday, I finished my brother in law's camouflage quilt- The Great Outdoors, but since then, I have barely gotten to my sewing machine at all.

It feels so very wrong to say this, but my time this week has been spent back in my classroom getting it set up for the coming school year (we have to pack everything away each year).  I have to report back on July 29th, and the students on August 5th.  We've been out since Memorial Day, but wow.  That July date on the calendar is just plain mean.

Anyway, I have managed to get the blocks pieced for a quilt I'm making for a very special lady.  This selfless lady makes beautiful quilts herself, but through the years, she has never kept one.  I'm speaking of course, of my grandmother.  I'm using a layer cake of Chateau Rouge by French General, and the warm colors and vintage French prints will look perfect draped across the sofa in their Louisiana living room.

Now check out some of the fantastic links from last week- we had 43!  Y'all have been busy with some awesome projects!

Made by Chrissie D shared two fantastic blocks!  This one is called Broken Arrows.

snips snippets finished this cute 23 pillow.  I love those colors!

  And Caroline's Craftiness shared this gorgeous hourglass quilt top!

Y'all inspire me each and every week with your fantastic projects and I can't wait to see what you share this week!  So, let's get down to it!

The guidelines-

1.  You can link finished projects or WIP's , but just keep it about quilting and sewing!
2. Link to your specific post to make it easier for others.
3. Spread the word and post my button or a text link. (the NTT button is on my sidebar)
4. Spread the comment love far and wide!
5. Following me is so very appreciated.  Let me know and I'll follow back!

Monday, July 15, 2013

For Love of The Great Outdoors

I finished my brother in law's quilt this afternoon, and I'm pretty pleased with the result.

You know, having a nine year old wild thing means that everybody is always trying to get us to put him in Boy Scouts, and my reply is always "We are not campy people; we are beachy people," which seems to placate them for a while.

And that's really the truth.  I grew up in a very girly family (love my makeup and hair dryer), and although my Dad is an Eagle Scout, we  never camped- thankfully because my Mom feels the same way I do.  Now, give me a beach chair, some sunscreen and a book, and that's the kind of outdoors I can get behind!

I can certainly appreciate the woodland environment for a couple of hours- maybe a day hike at the very most.  But when it comes right down to it, I want a nice bed, a restroom, and a shower.  That's just me, y'all.  And before you get aggravated with me and tell me that I'm depriving wild thing of something he might enjoy- trust me, I'm not.  He likes his comforts too (and he hates bugs).

Suffice it to say that making a quilt for my brother in law, who is the ultimate outdoorsman, was way out of my comfort zone.  Anytime I make a quilt that isn't really my own personal taste, I tend to second guess myself at every turn, and I'm usually not totally happy until the last stitch is in the binding.

The pattern I chose is called Four Squared by Aunt Polly's Porch for Moda Bakeshop.  I used the pattern as an inspiration for the quilt without actually following it.  I am terrible at following patterns. Luckily, I can usually look at a quilt and just know how to create it, and how to modify it to fit my fabric and size requirements.  This pattern is not too fussy, and gives the fabrics a little bit of a more modern twist.  The frame fabric is Kona Chocolate.  I just love that shade of brown.

I went with solid Mossy Oak camouflage on the back, so that this quilt could be flipped over and really used while hunting for a little extra warmth.  I chose to quilt with stippling, as I thought it would blend the best with the camouflage on the back in case it actually needs to be called into camouflage action.

Oh, who am I kidding here?  You all know it's my favorite kind of quilting and I do it almost all of the time anyway!

Rather than using Kona White for the label, I used Kona Parchment, which blended a little better.

You can see the quilting better in this picture (the obligatory rolled quilt shot), and I have to say that this is really some of the best FMQ I think I've ever done.  I've been working on spacing and keeping my curves smooth, and I'm happy with how it turned out.  Glad the quilting shows on the front, at least!

I hope my brother in law loves it, and I certainly think it's a little more fitting for him than his bunny quilt.  :)   One more Christmas gift done.  Whoop!

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