Archive for July, 2009

Well, officially my second quilt is completed.  I still have that cupcake one at home to finish…but that’s another story.

a section all quilted

 I have most likely read every tutorial for free motion quilting or if you are a grammar nerd, free-motion quilting that is on the internet.  All tutorials that focused on beginners suggested/reccommended that you use the same color thread in the bottom as you do on the top.   That is what I did on my first free motion quilt.  But, I had multiple colors on this quilt top and the only place I had dark brown was on the bottom.  So, I chose a tan or mocha thread for the top and a dark brown for the bottom. 


Were the tutorials right?  Yes, definitely.  Would I have changed my plan…probably not.  I knew I didn’t want such a dark brown thread on the top and I didn’t want a lighter color all over the chocolate brown.  For the most part I am happy with the free-motion considering I was working on a vintage Singer 15-91.  I  managed to find a darning/embroidery foot and tried it out.   I used several scraps and surprisingly I had no trouble.  The biggest problem came when I tried to quilt a scrap quilt  top, batting and the plush fabric.  Not so good!  So I chose not to use batting, an idea suggested to me by a quilter at my local shop-Quilter’s Cottage, here at the beach.  It was a good decision because as it turns out, the quilt is already heavy. 

free motion on the 1591

I turned my loft area into a quilting space.  I placed one of those big plastic tables over the daybed and moved the machine in front so that I would have some support for the weight.  Lighting was then a factor, because the overhead light was now behind me.  I took the top off the lamp and then I had plenty of light.  Not exactly a beautiful studio…but it works.brown thread on pink

 One interesting thing that I observed while quilting this…the top thread almost seemed to change color depending on the fabric.  On the dark brown linen it looked almost pink, on the pink (as in the above picture) it looked darker.  On the outside tan/light brown border, you almost can’t see the quilting.

quilted, bound but not washed

 I chose not to quilt the center of each block and the white linen.  I am happy with those decisions.  If I had decided to quilt the white linen, I would have wanted white thread on the top and dark brown on the bottom and that would not have ended well!  I think the plain white border helps to make the binding and the white background block centers stand out.

Fresh out of the dryer and ready to send

Here it is washed and ready to send to my daughter.  I put a label on the back that I was very happy with because I was able to incorporate a little flower from the quilt pattern.  I should have embroidered the label, but after sewing all that binding onto that minkee fabric…no way.

Caroline's quilt label


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Dresses done and ready to deliver

In a perfect world these would have been completed by the 4th of July…in a perfect world.

One for CarolineOne for Kate

So much for perfection.  I used these patterns for the dresses.

Sister Dresses showing patterns

One day while surfing several sewing/quilting blogs I came across this pattern for a new born baby dress.  I was very interested because the new baby was due in early June and I already had so many dresses either made or in the works.  The dress is called the Itty Bitty Baby dress by Rae Hoekstra, you can find it here: wwwmadebyraeblogspot.com.  I did not use the piping or bias tape suggested in the itty bitty pattern for the cherry dress.  I did use piping for the Midwest Modern dress, I think it looks good either way.   Apparently another sewer/blogger  took the dress and made a larger size (more like a 3T), and you can find that one here: CraftingInspiration.blogspot.com


I made a change to the Butterick  pattern, because I made it reversible.  Here are the 2 sides during construction.  They are in the forefront of the picture. 



My very first attempt at the dress occurred before Caroline was born.  Knowing that my daughter really favored the Midwest Modern print dress on Kate, I used the scraps for a new born dress.  We tried to take some nice pictures…but it is really difficult with a baby that isn’t even a week old and her 22 month old sister.  These aren’t  the best pics, but you can see the dresses really well : )


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Alex's Quilt 045

Alex recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin and I purchased a very colorful combo of fat quarters from the Quilt Haus, in Texas.  I chose the prints because a majority of them were designed byAna Maria Horner.  This fabric designer was influenced by summers spent visiting family in Greece.  Well, Alex happens to be Greek, so…it made sense to choose these fabrics.  I wanted to make a lap quilt for her to commemorate her graduation much as I did for my Niece Jaki.

Alex's Quilt 044So I started with the pack of fat quarters and procrastinated because I couldn’t quite come up with a plan when all the colors seemed so dark.  I didn’t see a contrast, and since I am a new quilter…it left me uncertain.  I visited a local shop down at the beach called Quilting in the Carolinas and a quilter in the shop showed me her square in a square made with all dark Kaffe Fassett.  It was beautiful!  I asked her how she came up with which fabrics to put where and she replied “I just used the geometric designs for the inside square and the floral patterns for the border”.  Okay, I thought…I could do that too.  Then I realized I didn’t have enough geometric fat quarters.  Most of my pile were floral prints.  So she helped me combine my fat quarters with some yardage from the store.

Alex's Quilt 040

Here I am chain piecing the side borders for all 20 squares.

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Here I am pressing the seams before I start with the top and bottom borders.  Time to make the squares.

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Alex's Quilt 054


It is starting to really look like something!  Next you will see my overall plan for the top.

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  The only problem is that the overall look depends on which color border you choose for blocks A,B,C and D.  But I proceeded with my plan and decided I would make adjustments as needed.

Alex's Quilt 054

Even with all my planning, I ended up with too many similar colors next to one another, so I swapped out some blocks, but keeping the overall plan intact.  Here are a few pictures of the planning stage.  The picture below tempted me to use white borders and sashings for the quilt.  I think the white separating each block really makes them pop!  Well, maybe next time I use so many colorful blocks I will try that.

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 Each first block of each row is labeled so I can be sure I am sewing the rows in the correct order. 

Alex's Quilt 060Alex's Quilt 058

I think I am pretty happy now with the color arrangements.

Alex's Quilt 062

Ok, so now I need a color plan for the borders and backing.  I returned to the Quilting in the Carolinas shop because I know that they have a section of Kaffe Fassett and a few other bold prints.  With the help of the same quilter (I really must ask her name next time I am there), we began to audition fabric choices for the border.  She suggested a thin border to give the quilt a little rest. 

This particular square has my favorite fabric and color combos, so we decided on using them as a jumping point. 

Alex's Quilt 045

I really love the Neptune line and once we agreed that green would be a calming choice, I headed to the Neptune.  I chose the more geometric to compliment the inside squares which are also geometric.  This will be my 1 inch border.  I will have to cross my fingers and see if I can obtain more yardage of the floral from an online store.

Alex's Quilt 012

Alex's Quilt 007

This is how I am hoping the outside border will look.  I used some scraps to get a visual.

Alex's Quilt 008

Alex's Quilt 009

You may need to put your seat belts on for this one…but I chose the poka-dot from the center square of my fav block for the backing.  I haven’t thought about the binding yet…should probably make sure I can get the border first.   I sure hope Alex is up for some color and excitement : ).

Alex's Quilt 013

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Here is the end result of lots of sewing and matching fabric choices, not to mention… a cute granddaughter.

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But the story really begins here:DSCN0074

This mini-obsession all began with a trip to see my son and his bride for Thanksgiving. Kim and I visited a quilt shop near San Antonio, Texas called The Quilt Haus http://www.creativesewlutions.com/and we spent several hours pouring over all their great fabrics. The shop had a couple of samples of these sister smock dresses (a pattern from Indygo Junction). Well, with the help of Kim, I chose 2 collections to make dresses for Katie,  my granddaughter. Kim has a great eye for fabric combinations and I enlisted her help. The majority of fabric on this dress is from the Farmer’s Market collection. I made a mistake on my cut for the bottom section, so I had to visit my local shop and find a good substitute for either side of the front paisley.


You can see that I chose a smaller print for the bodice and stripes for the straps and bottom band. I was really happy that I had received a serger for Christmas as it allowed me to give a very professional finish to the seams.DSCN0085

I chose to do the first dress by itself because I wanted to make sure that it fit Katie well before I made others. This turned out to be a good decision because the bodice/yoke was a little too big. I pulled in the pattern about 1″ and it made a big difference on the second dress.


All finished and ready to go.

Thus began the dress obsession. I think the fact that my daughter loved the versatility of the pattern helped to fuel the obsession. She would sometimes put Katie in the dress with jeans and a shirt and then throughout the day as the weather would change she could make adjustments.

DSCN0181These dresses became a large part of Katie’s Easter basket. She was a little too young for a basket full of chocolate and sugary peeps. We spent Easter at the beach and were able to get some pretty pics.DSCN0252







This one became a little wrinkled at the Egg Hunt.DSCN0261 


I didn’t put the bottom banding on the Frest Squeezed, so it is mainly worn as a smock.  It is just a little too short to be a dress.


This one is my personal favorite from the Easter Basket group.  I think the color looks great on Katie.  Maybe I am just in love with the entire Neptune line.  I did buy 3 charm packs and lots of yardage for a quilt. : )


This one is very fun and colorful in person.  I think the mistake I made was not having enough contrast between the front panel and the sides.  I learned from making this one.

After the new baby sister (Caroline) arrived in late May, I realized that I had purchased fabric intended for the summer and if I waited any longer, then I would have to make them for next summer…so here are the latest. katie_a_day_beach 064I didn’t have enough for the bottom band if I wanted the stripe to go in the same direction as the front panel. Also, my other problem was that this dress just seemed a little harsh…not girly enough…so when I was at the beach quilt shop I frequent most-Quilter’s Cottage, they had a pillow case with these fabrics but the small band near the cuff was in this pink dot. I thought it was a perfect solution.katie_a_day_beach 061This dress was made with the Al Fresco line and I had some difficulty with the choices. I finally decided to use the cute floral on the yoke and apron because it seemed more youthful. I used the more abstract fabric for the main part of the dress.Beach_July_09 005 - Copy - Copy


katie_a_day_beach 040

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A quilt for Caroline

Caroline's Quilt top

DSCN0144Here is the start of a quilt for my new granddaughter. It started out with a Quilts & More magazine. There was a very pretty lap size quilt made up of designs from the Woodland Bloom collection by Lily Tueller. I had several of these in my stash and decided to try the pattern.DSCN0143I didn’t have quite the variety of prints that the pattern called for and my local shops didn’t have them either, so I opted for the 100% linen.DSCN0142The pattern has two rectangular blocks. One at the top left and another on the bottom right.DSCN0145Although the browns are not the same, I really like the dark chocolate color mixed in. Now I am just a little nervous about the quilting part.DSCN0147Three blocks of the quilt are the same (almost solid pink boder) and they run on a diagonal through the top.   Two others (the green border) come before or after the middle or center block .DSCN0150I didn’t focus just on this quilt top and of course made a couple of errors. I did make the decision to have a soft minkee type fabric on the back.DSCN0151I have been searching for some advice about quilting this. My daughter likes things to just get done, so she keeps telling me to stitch in the ditch and be finished. I, of course, have a tendency to love doing things the hard way. One piece of advice was given to me from the quilt shop at the beach. Don’t use any batting. The minkee type fabric will be heavy enough…especially for a baby girl. I think that is what I will do. Considering that this is only my 3rd quilt and I am not a free-motion expert.

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 This is a quilt for my niece Jaki. She recently graduated from UNC Chapel Hill and I wanted her to have something special. She is traveling in Asia for the summer (started out as a trip with Habitat for Humanity) and she will not see the quilt until the end of the summer. I hope she likes it…and that it doesn’t fall apart since it is my first completed quilt!
1974 by Urban Chicks

1974 by Urban Chicks

 It was a fun and easy pattern to create.  Deciding where to put them was easier than I thought.  I found some information online that instructed you to think about the 9 squares like a tic-tac-toe board which helped.  I tried to make each center square a turquoise color for some consistency.  That is the square which becomes the smallest square once the 9 patch is cut into 4 equal squares.

Europe 2008 402

 Once I put all the disappearing 9 patches together, I needed to come up with a finishing plan.  I was not using a pattern, so I chose to border it and then I still wanted it larger, so the muslin border came about.

Here is my disappearing 9 patch in the works

Here is my disappearing 9 patch in the works


Here is the border with a 4 square in the corner. I chose the eggplant color because I thought that fit Jaki's personality and the quilt itself better than any other color in the quilt.

Here is the border with a 4 square in the corner. I chose the eggplant color because I thought that fit Jaki's personality and the quilt itself better than any other color in the quilt.


the back

the back

Here is the back.  I put a thin strip of the remaining scraps in order to make the plain natural muslin a little interesting.

Europe 2008 438Europe 2008 437Europe 2008 436

washed and ready to send

washed and ready to send

I know this is not the best photograph, but it is the only one I have where I can show both the back and the front. The whole free-motion quilting saga will require a post all by itself! : )

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