Sunday, December 30, 2007

Country Stars

Ben surprised me by putting up two quilt hangers in the upstairs hallway this afternoon, replacing the nails that previously hung a quilt mounted on a dowel. That meant I was able to put up this lovely little quilt!

The quilt is made from a Fig Tree Quilts pattern booklet produced by Leisure Arts called Quaint Quilts to Love, but is modified slightly in that they called for enlargement of the pattern by something like 179%; I just used it at the size printed in the book, which resulted in a smaller top, exactly what I wanted. I bought the kit from at vendor at the International Quilt Festival Chicago last spring, proving that I do, once in a while, finish the projects that I buy at shows.

I made all of the little stars in July while Ben read to me Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; I finally quilted it in November with some simple meandering and a random star border design, applying binding while in New Hampshire at Thanksgiving. Now, it's found its home in the hallway and just makes me happy!


I gave away one quilt for Christmas this year, and here my parents are opening it on Christmas day. For once, I made a quilt for a family member in the the year that I was actually there to watch them open it (this is what happens when you alternate Christmases between your parents and the in-laws).

This was a fun quilt to make, but a TON of sewing. I started it in a class offered at Patched Works last February, finished piecing it over the Easter holiday, and had it back from the machine quilter by the beginning of October. It still took me until December 20 to finish binding it, but at least I didn't have to pull an all-nighter to get it done in time for the holiday. Nothing like starting early and still getting it done in the nick of time!

There's not yet at pattern for this quilt, but one is being developed by Katie Migliano, from whom I took the class. (Actually, there will be a picture of my quilt included with the pattern! How exciting!). The design is based on the Trip Around the World pattern, and all of those lovely squares finish at 1.5" square. One of Katie's versions of this quilt can be seen on the classes page on the Patched Works site. It's a Trip Times Two because for each color set, there is one with a light center moving out toward dark, and a sister block that moves in the same progression from dark to light. My quilt does have a wide batik border on it, but you can't see it very well in the photos we took, due to perspective and the need to crop out some non-quilt matter.

The quilt finished at 93" x 113" and was quilted by Sandi Goulet of Quilted Treasures. It is the first quilt I've had quilted with a wool batting. It had a nice loft, seemed more lightweight than the cotton (and given all of the seams in this quilt, I was looking for something that wouldn't make the quilt weigh a ton!), and, most importantly - it was wide enough to accommodate the extra 8" Sandi needed to quilt it.

I have TONS of partial "trips" left over from this project, so you may see them in some reincarnation in the future.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Still no quilting time for me, but the upcoming Christmas holiday did motivate me to finally follow-through on my promise to make my sister some matching pillows for the quilt I made my nephew for the baby shower.

The pillows are made with Minkee on the front and a yellow flannel on the back. So soft! I'm actually happy with the fit of the pillow sham on these, so I thought I'd share the dimensions I used, even if it's only to document them for myself for future reference. I used an 18" pillow form; the Minkee squares started off at 3.5"and finished to 3". The backing pieces were cut at 18.5" x 12.25" and the hem on them was a double-fold at .5" each time.

Here's a photo of the quilt, which currently hangs in Alex's room. Nothing like getting the pillows 8 months after he was born! Better late than never, I suppose.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I've decided it's time to try my hand at this blogging phenomenon, as I keep meaning to share my quilting progress with friends and family and just never seem to get around to it. Ben created a nice web page for me a while back so that I could post pictures of my quilts and I was terrible about maintaining that - I'd rather be quilting I say - so I can't promise that I'll be good at posting, but I'm going to give it the good old college try.

While I plan to use this to mostly write about my quilting, my first post actually has to do with some non-quilting sewing that I've been doing. Today, my department held our annual holiday party for our students, which consists of ordering pizza or subs and then having professional staff bring in other food items to make a meal out of it. In the past, I'd given my students gift cards to Starbucks, but seeing as I have three lovely and talented ladies working for me this year, I decided to make them something a little special: purses! (This was partially an excuse to buy some of the great purse patterns out there on the market and also to buy more fabric...)

I put in a few late nights, and I did get them done on time! Yay! And they turned out quite nice. The first purse, pictured here, was made for Grete and is based on the Indygo Junction pattern The Samantha. I used fabrics from Erin Michael's Up Town line. This really was a simple purse and went together quickly. I used a fusible fleece as the lining and it had a nice hand, but in the future, I think I would modify this pattern so that there were some quilting or something to provide a bit more texture to the unit. I also wished that there were a way to keep the side units from being somewhat visible on the front. Don't know if that was my ironing job, or what. Got to play with magnetic snaps for the first time ever and think I might have benefited from this tool my mother has for cutting the slit in machine-made button holes for garments. But I made do with a pair of scissors!

The second purse was made for Becky and is also an Indygo Junction pattern. It's called The Metropolitan and I selected the Chez Moi line from Sentimental Studios. This was a fun purse to make also went together pretty quickly. It is lined with muslin per the instructions, which probably is enough, given its style and size, and the top portion is lined with Timtex (which worked wonderfully for that part). I wasn't terribly happy with my sewing job on the trim that I added, but I couldn't come up with any way better than I did. There must be some tool or technique out there that I don't know about and hope to learn about some day.

I have to admit that I wasn't terribly impressed with the Indygo Junction patterns. If you haven't made too many purses or done much sewing, the instructions may not be enough. There are zero illustrations, so you have to have a fairly decent idea of what you are doing from the get go, and I made one misinterpretation in making the Metropolitan that would have resulted in an exposed seam. Fortunately, I was able to save it without too much unsewing!

I had a difficult time giving away the third bag because I wanted to keep it for myself. This is definitely a pattern that I will make again! It's a Lazy Girl Designs pattern called Miranda Day Bag. The pattern was wonderful and provided photos to accompany nearly all steps in the process and there was never any question as to whether I was doing the step in the correct manner. This purse was made for Johanna and again uses Erin Michael's Up Town line. The side panels were machine quilted (by me), and this was the first time I applied fashion handles to a purse (it's way easier than I expected). The lining is some leftover Hobbs 80/20, I think, and that seemed to work nicely. I also used a fusible Velcro on the tab, so hopefully that'll hold up. I'm still hoping that I can find a source for the Bag-E-Bottom recommended so that I can provide her with some support to the bottom once she starts to put some weight in it.

Well, I know this has gone on long enough. I'll have more photos and sewing news soon.