Prairie Bonnet

I live in a small mountain town with my husband, teenage son, and parents.  Like most other small mountain towns, this town has quite a few vintage thrift and antique stores.  Tourist frequent the area and the vintage stores in the spring, summer and fall seasons, looking for treasures for their mountain homes or as a souvenir of their vacation.  My mother has a booth at one of the local stores and sells vintage items that she finds other places, and she requested that I make a prairie bonnet to put in her booth.

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First I tried to recall every single cowboy series I watched when I grew up, and of course Little House on the Prairie, and the women and their bonnets.  Thankfully I watched lots of those shows growing up so I had lots of memories to pull from.  LOL.

Then I trekked to the local quilt shop to find some fabric that would be suitable.  I decided the civil war reproduction prints – an area of the store I typically avoid like the plague –  would be the best place to look.  I found this blue mini fern print on a cream background and thought it looked kinda ‘prairie’-ish to me.  I think it will make a very pretty summer bonnet.

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Then after considerable search on the internet, I decided to use this pattern from Buns and Baskets to make my hat.  The pattern is simple and easy to follow and I love how all the seams are enclosed so there are no raw edges.   I worked on it two evenings.  Between the easy pattern, and the good quality fabric, it stitched up very nice.

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Now, she wants a pink one!  🙂

This is my 5th UFO finish for the year.  Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

 

UFO Finish #4

I love this mini quilt.  I started this quilt last year when I started a much larger lone star quilt.  I had never done a lone star quilt so I wanted to ‘practice’ on something smaller.  I often practice new techniques in a similar fashion.  I’ll make one or two blocks to see how a quilt will go together, or if a bag or some other project, I may make it first with fabric that I really don’t care about before I cut into my good fabric.  Many times it ends up being a waste of time because (1) the pattern is so complicated I never want to make another one after the first (haha). or (2) because it goes together smoothly.  Other times though, I’m able to find areas that need to be improved or find things I would do differently in order to save fabric usage.

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I pulled this navy scrap with orange, teal, lime green, and purple elephants from my scrap bin and then found more scraps that complemented it.  For the most part the placement of each color was due to how much of each fabric that I had on hand, but I wanted the points to be bright so that the star would SPARKLE.  So orange was the only way to go there.  I just love orange these days.  It’s such a bright, cheery color.

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I used this tutorial by the Hopeful Homemaker for piecing my strips.  I did one thing different that I found to be very helpful.  When piecing the diamonds, I first ‘basted’ the seams with a long stitch.  I found that I often needed to adjust the seams just a smidgen in order for them to line up and it’s so much easier to pick out longer stitches.  Then, once I was happy with how the seams lined up, I would stitch one last time with a small stitch.

One thing I didn’t do that I wish I had was starch all the pieces when piecing.  I usually skip this step because I am impatient and want to get it done, but it really would have helped provide a much crisper, less puckered and wrinkled, finished star.

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I decided to offset the star rather than center it on the background.  It took me a few days to figure out how I wanted to quilt it, and I love what I came up with. First I marked and quilted diamonds to extend the star shape to the bottom and right.

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Then I free-motion quilting the remaining areas with a paisley flower.  I practice my FMQ every chance I get, and this was a very fun design to stitch.  I just love it!

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Then I decided the bottom right corner was a perfect place to put a small elephant.  He’s so cute!

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Quilt finishes at 17.5″ x 17.5″.  Each diamond in the star is 1″ x 1″ finished.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Outhouse Racing

IMG_3576Yesterday we traveled several mountains over to view some local entertainment.  Yes, you read that right. We went to the Outhouse Races – an annual event put on by a local ski resort.  For an hour we were entertained by outhouses on skis.  Only in the mountains would you find entertainment like this!

The outhouses were required to be at least 5′ tall, have a roll of toilet paper, and a hole in the seat.  Otherwise they could be decorated in any way.

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Then the race started.  Some races were clearly dominated.

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Others were too close to call.

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After the hour, White Lightening was the winner of the day.  Even with a broken ski.

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It was a great way to spend the afternoon, even with the frozen temperatures.  And when we left, my husband mentioned it gave him some ideas for next year.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up as a participant next year and not just part of the crowd.

UFO Finish #3

I have finished yet another UFO since the start of the year.  This is my second oldest UFO so I’m glad to finally get it done.  These blocks dates back to 2003.  No lie!

I really love this quilt.  Each block was made by a different person from a block swap I participated in.  No one knew what blogging or social media was back then, so I’m not sure what happened to the other blocks we mailed out or if the other participants finished their quilts.  I’m pretty sure I am the only one that sat it aside for more than a decade though.  I mean, who would do such a thing?  But like they say… ‘better late than never!’

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We each signed the blocks and wrote a little saying about our wonderful country.

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I free motion quilted it with a loop-d-loop (my favorite) with a few stars thrown in here and there.

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This quilt will be donated to our local Quilts of Valor chapter.  I hope it provides comfort and healing to a member of our armed forces that gave so much for our country.

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I’m very happy with the progress I have been making with my UFO’s though I expect I won’t be able to keep up this pace much longer.  Not only is it tax season, but our house is now under contract  (Yippee!) so hopefully we’ll be moving in the next 2-3 months.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

I’m Going to QuiltCon (I wish!)

Although I won’t be there, a quilt of mine will be and that in itself is exciting!  Also there is a moral to this story, so be sure to read to the end.

I decided to enter a quilt into the Michael Miller Glitz Fabric Challenge for this year’s QuiltCon in Pasadena.   I was a lucky recipient of a pack of 8 fat-eighths of Michael Miller Glitz in black/silver and white/silver.  I have not used metallics in a quilt before, so that in itself was challenging.

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The fabrics above should be the focal point of the point, but other Michael Miller solids were permitted.  Michael Miller prints could be used on the back and/or binding.

After some soul searching I decided to order Mist & Honey as solids for the front.  I love how the warm honey and the cool mist play off each other and has become one of my new favorite color combinations.

And I found a coordinating Michael Miller print for the back that also used the same colors.  Maybe I’m on the only one loving that combination.  I couldn’t tell by the picture that the print I picked for the back had metallic gold accents until it was here.  It was metallic gold, and I had metallic silver for the front.  Hmmm…  Oh, well.  It is what it is.  I decided to roll with it.  The charcoal solid was for the binding.  IMG_2845

You may recall the block I designed earlier in the year for the Cirrus Solids Block Challenge.  This block was very easy to piece  since it is made up of 1″ blocks (finished) and then longer 1″ strips or rectangles to fill in the remainder of the negative space.stuck in the middle

I decided to rework this block to use just two colors (black and white) and to piece the block so that the colors looked they there were woven together.  The center white squares really gave me a headache.  In order to piece complete squares or rectangles to create the block, the center white strip needed to be 3 pieces.  But the ‘woven’ look I was trying to achieve didn’t work with 3 separate pieces there.   It needed to be one piece.  Well, that ended up creating more issues when piecing the rest of the block.  Long story short… it was easier for me to piece the entire block with three 1″ white squares there in the middle, and then when the block was finished, pick out those three 1″ white squares and replace them with a 1″ x 3″ rectangle.  That really surprised me!  Surprised that it was easier to do it that way and pick and resew than it was to sew the block with the correct piece to start with.  But it really was.  And if you don’t understand all that…. let me know and I’ll make another block with pictures and explain it better.

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I made 4 blocks – two with honey and two with mist and then placed them opposite of each other.  I decided not to use the charcoal solid for the binding.  It just didn’t look right.  Instead, I decided to finish the quilt by ‘facing’ the edges.  I LOVE how it looks!  It gave the edges a clean crisp finish.  I will definitely be using this method again!  In fact, I already have with the buck I appliqued here, and I’m getting ready to finish a 3rd wall hanging using this same method.  In fact, I may never traditionally bind another wall hanging.

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I quilted it with a spiral (lines are 3/8″ apart) with my walking foot, except in the very middle.  A spiral is next to impossible to quilt (neatly) in the very center.  So instead I started the spiral a little wider and filled in the center with some parallel lines.

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Last but not least, every quilt entered into the competition needed a story.  Yikes!!  Ummm… a story.  I guess ‘because I liked the way it looked’ wasn’t good enough.  So, I put on my thinking cap…

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This is my story (with limited number of characters)…

Intertwined Lives: I reworked a block I designed earlier this year for the Cirrus Solids BOM challenge. The woven glitz fabrics show how we, individual people, are different colors and have different features, and how our lives intertwine with others over our lifetimes. The lives of the people that we have these relationships with, also intertwine with people we will never meet and never directly have any impact on because we lead parallel lives. However, the circular stitching exposes the bits and pieces of ourselves that get carried from our direct relationships to these parallel relationships. Without our knowledge, bits and pieces of ourselves are deposited into others lives and we never know if these pieces will have a small or a significant impact. Moral of the story: Your life affects more than just the people you know first-hand, so make sure your life is worth sharing.

Quilt measures approx 24″ x 24″.

Oh, and if you happen to be at QuiltCon and see my quilt, please let me know.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

 

UFO Finish #2

I have finished a second UFO on my list.  Yippee!  This is another charity baby quilt for our local quilt guild.  They provide the fabric and batting. I provide the thread and labor.

It was simple to piece since it was just 6″ squares.  But it was plain.  It needed something that would soften it up a bit.

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So I decided to take this opportunity to practice another FMQ design.  This is a simple paisley.  It was fairly easy and probably the first time I could honestly say I enjoyed FMQ on my home machine.  What I found difficult was trying to get myself out of tight spaces and filling in spaces that were too small for a paisley.  I tried several things… some worked, some didn’t.  But that is how it goes when you’re trying something new and practicing.  This was a good square.  It’s so pretty!

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As much as I like this design, it is very thread heavy.  It took 2-1/2 spools of thread to quilt this 36″ x 42″ baby quilt.  So, although I really like this design, it might work best featured in a smaller area rather than as an overall design.

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One more UFO down… many more to go.

UFO Finish #1

You may have read a couple of weeks ago that I decided to join the 2016 Finish-A-Long in hopes of finishing up some of my UFOs (Un-Finished Objects).  I am happy to announce that after less than 2 weeks in, I am finished with the first one.

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I spent several evenings hand-quilting this baby quilt.  It was a panel, so there was not any piecing that needed to be done unfortunately.  I really enjoy piecing.  I very much dislike hand quilting though, but decided I could suffer through it for a small quilt.  I’m just not very good at it.  I probably should do it more often so I get better at it… Umm, Nah!

The panel has very sweet bunnies, similar to Beatrix Potter.  I just love little bunnies.

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I am a member of the Smokey Mountain Quilters Guild and made this quilt for them.  They donate baby quilts to several different charities – Angel Hospital Hospice, Kid’s Place and Head Start.  This is the 3rd quilt I’ve made since last summer for these outreach programs.  It is backed with flannel so it will make a soft quilt for a little one.

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I very seldom get to take pictures of quilts with snow, so I took advantage of the white stuff that fell overnight

Here is a picture of one of the quilts also for our guild that I finished last fall.

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I love the flowers I FMQ onto this quilt.  I can tell that, with practice, my FMQ skills are improving.

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Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Vintage Rainbow Mosaic

Vintage [vin-tij] adj. 1. Representing the high quality of a past time.  2. Being the best of its kind

What’s that saying about styles of the past coming back?  From my amateur point-of-view, it seems that fashion, home decor, and hair styles run in cycles repeating every couple of decades.  They get revamped and revived, and suddenly old school with a twist becomes chic and stylish ‘new’ school.  Quilting fabric hasn’t been immune, although it’s probably been a somewhat slower process.  We have reproductions for the Victorian, civil war, and depression eras and just about everything in between.  More often than not, these reproduction fabric look very much in color and style like the fabrics of old.  However, sometimes they can look more modern due to the use of modern geometric prints.  Also advances in technology have given us whiter whites and brighter colors which can make a reproduction fabric seem more chic.

Rachel at Stitched in Color is having a mosaic contest where we are to pick our favorite ‘vintage’ rainbow fabrics.  A collaboration of color slightly aged, faded, or dusty.  Maybe even colors that clash.   Think shades of green from 1930s kitchens, Williamsburg blue from the 80s, or the one thing we all hope never comes back in style, avacado green appliances from the 70s.

I made 2 color pallets that most resemble the 30s and the 50s decades.  Intuitively, I really like softer tones with a pop of color, and a dark color or two with a cool base to balance it out.  I love the two pallets that I came up with.  I tried to capture the essence of the vintage rainbow while keeping the prints modern for more trendy charm.

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pallet 1

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pallet 2

As I was building them, I thought they were quite different.  I started out with 6 colors for pallet 1 and 8 colors for pallet 2.  So the differences were more noticeable.  But then I reread the instructions and realized I was supposed to have 9 colors for each.  So, I went back and filled in more colors for each, and now that I see them side-by-side, they are more similar than I thought.  Pallet 2 is a bit softer than pallet 1, but they both have a good balance of light, medium, and dark values.

I really love how the colors are playing together.  I have been loving gold and aqua together and have used it recently in a quilt that I will share soon.  Also, coral has been one of my favorite colors for year.  I love how it plays well with grays and citron.

I had a lot of fun with this challenge, and decided to play around with quilt design on my EQ7 at the same time.  I decided to work with triangles and this is what I came up with for each color pallet.

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Vintage Rainbow quilt

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What do you think?  What colors would you have chosen for this challenge?  Visit Stitch in Color to view the other entries and vote for your favorite.  Maybe you’ll find a collection of color you love and decide to use in your next quilt.

QAYG Hot Pads

Our kitchen was in dire need of hot pads so I whipped-up some scrappy ones this past week.  I used the quilt-as-you method (QAYG), so they were super fast and easy to make.

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If you would like to make some of your own, this is what you will need for two 8″ x 8″ hot pads.

  • approx 8″ x 16″ piece of insulated batting (such as insul-bright)
  • (2) 8″ x 16″ pieces of cotton batting
  • 9″ x 17″ piece of backing fabric
  • fabric scraps (strips work best)
  • adhesive spray

Layer the first three items above as follows:  first place the backing fabric wrong side up, then place a piece of cotton batting on top on that, then the insul-bright, then another layer of batting.  Use adhesive spray to baste the layers together so they don’t shift during sewing.  This creates a 4-layer quilt sandwich to start with.  I’m not sure where I bought my insulated batting, or even what brand it is because I have had it for so long, but my insulated batting already had two layers of batting, the insulated mylar, and plain fabric on the back.  It is quite thick, and I tested it by placing a hot iron on it and the backing fabric was still cool, so I didn’t think I needed to add any additional layers.  So I skipped the 2nd and 3rd items above and decided to use it as-is since it already had all 4 layers.

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Now onto the fun part!  Choose two fabric strips and place right sides together.  Position onto the exposed batting on the top of your quilt sandwich, and sew down one long edge.

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Flip over the fabric so that you can see the right sides of both fabric strips sewn, and iron to flatten the seam.

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I chose to use shorter strips than needed so I could later go back and sew-on fabric strips going the other direction.  In the above picture the bird fabric is too long, so I cut off the bottom to make it the same length as the first strip (below).  Also you can choose to make this project even more scrappy by piecing smaller pieces of fabric together to make a longer strip as seen below on the left.

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Then chose another strip, place it face down and line up the edges with the strip to the right and sew down the long edge.

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Continue in this fashion, placing a strip face down, sewing down the long edge, flipping so that it is right side up, and then adding another strip face down along its edge, sewing down the long edge, flipping so that it is right side up, and so on…  I have 13 strips sewn like this across the batting, and then I used that same method to fill in the remaining corners by sewing strips the opposite direction.

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And here is where I just realized I forgot to take more pictures…

Once the entire surface area was covered with strips, I basted along all 4 edges, trimmed the edges even and then cut in half to create two 8″ x 8″ squares.  Then I used some scrap binding that I had on hand to finish them.  Voila!  Two new hot pads for the kitchen.

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As you can see, this is a pretty fast process, and because the quilting is done as the same time as the piecing, there is no reason to go back and quilt all the layers together once you’re done.  Of course, you always could do more quilting if you wanted to add more detail or designs, but that was not my purpose here.   And I used up some more of my scraps which is always fun!

Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

 

 

 

 

 

Finish A Long Q1 2016

I’m going to try this again.  I tried it last summer.. I tried several years ago… I set goals and then I get side-tracked.  But I still have so, so many UFOs, so I’m going to join the first quarter finish-a-long hosted by Clover & Violet among others.

The purpose of the Finish-A-Long (FAL) is to make a list of projects that have already been started but not finished and thus are hanging about in your sewing room as UFOs.  And then to finish those UFOs during the quarter and either blog about it or post to Flickr or Instagram.  All eligible entries will be entered to win wonderful prizes which is really all the incentive I need to try to get some of these things finished.

So, here goes…

  • Start and finish quilt for TMQG Spoonflower Challenge (6 Fat-8ths to work with).  I have the fabric, I will be using an original design, I just need to do it.IMG_3292
  • Finish small lone star wall hanging.  The star is pieced.  Need to finish piecing the quilt top and then quilt and bind it.IMG_3291
  • Finish quilt for Quilts of Valor (very old UFO -2003).  The top is done.  Just needs to be quilted and bound.IMG_3290
  • Finish improv quilt.  About 1/3 – 1/2 done with top.IMG_3288
  • Handquilting this panel for guild charityIMG_3289
  • Another quilt for guild charity.  They provide the fabric, batting, and pattern.  I provide the labor.IMG_3293
  • Cowboy quilt — fabric shown and will be using an original pattern.  This one is going to be super cute even though it has brown (I very much dislike brown in quilts, but it fits here).  IMG_3294
  • Last but not least, make a prairie bonnet for my mom.  She has requested one.  This is the fabric I have picked out.IMG_3295

Many of these UFOs are not my style which is why they have sat for so long.  I always find more interesting projects to do instead.  But I really should just bite the bullet and finish them so I can stop thinking about them.

The improv quilt is my favorite and what I really would like to work on.  But it’s also the most recent, so I’m still really excited about it and how it’s coming together.  Maybe I’ll start with the oldest first and work my way to the more recent.

Wish me luck!

Linking up with Clover & Violet for Finish Along Goals Q1. #2016FAL