WIP Wednesday

My first WIP Wednesday… normally, I post projects once they are completed, but it seems as if I’m not completing much these days.  Well, that’s not really true – we made it through my daughter’s wedding and that was a huge project.  But quilting projects are stalled at the moment.  I am working on designing, but the sewing is stalled due to waiting for coordinating fabric to arrive or waiting for the inspiration to strike.  And rather than show all the WIP’s I have because that would be too overwhelming for the both of us, these are the ones I hope to have completed in the next 4-6 weeks.  That’s a good goal, right?

First, I decided to make my parents a quilt for Christmas/50th anniversary (which was in June).  I know, it’s a little late to be planning this – I just haven’t had much time before now.  So I’m looking at doing a pastel blue/pink and am working on an original quilt design.  I pretty much have the center of the quilt figured out — lots of half square triangles which means lots of cutting and lots of sewing.  While I wait for the rest of the fabric to arrive (had to mail order it since the local quilt shop didn’t have any in stock), I am working on whether I want small borders or large borders, or borders with designs.. hmmm…

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WIP

Then I am doing the Riley Blake challenge through the Modern Quilt Guild.  Here are the fabrics — we were given 6- fat 8ths.  The challenge is that you can only use other Riley Blake prints or other solids to create something quilted.  I’m thinking a baby boy quilt with large blocks and a modern arrangement.  Something easy and quick to put together.

IMG_3348Next up – a quilt I started in June (?).  The challenge was to create a quilt using just one color and one print we drew out of a bag.  My color was purple and my print isn’t pictured here so you’ll just have to be surprised.  So I stocked up on purple solids, designed a quilt and started sewing.  I hope it turns out like it did in my head!  It’s been a WIP for so long now I really need to get it finished before it makes it’s way into the pile of WIPs that are a year or more old (yes, I have some of those too).  Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get to them…

IMG_3350Last but not least, and likely the one I will actually finish first… a friend has asked me to make 2 baby blankets for a niece that is soon due.  She wants an embroidered elephant with a bird on its back.  So I’ve been working on digitizing the design in my “super expensive that I will probably never get’s my money’s worth out of” software.  Every time I try to do something in this digitizing software I feel like I’m having to learn it all over again.  One day I’ll gain a comfort level with it — I’ve only had it 1-1/2 years! Haha…  But the more I use it, the easier it will be (at least that’s what I keep telling myself).  Right?

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So, that’s it.  These really are my quilting goals for the next 4-6 weeks.  I’ll probably rearrange, and likely add more to it, but here it is for this moment in time.

What are you working on?  Do you tend to have more than one project in progress like I do?

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

WIP Wednesday linky

Make it Right Challenge Entry Unveiled — time to vote!

So, 2 weeks ago I gave you a teaser on what I made for the Make It Right Challenge sponsored by Art Gallery Fabrics.  I was finally able to take some pictures on a recent visit to our beautiful Duke Gardens, and I am ready to share it with you.  Drum roll please….

It’s an umbrella and/or parasol —

DSC_0494I thought long and hard about what I wanted to make for this challenge.  I thought there would likely be a lot of quilts and bags, and I wanted to do something different and unexpected.   Before this, it never crossed my mind to recover an umbrella; but out of the top 3 things I had on my list, that was the one that just seemed to stick in my mind.

DSC_0493So I ordered the fabric and started looking for a frame.  I found a cheap 60″ umbrella on a popular online electronic commerce website.  (I definitely wouldn’t recommend what I bought for it — I had two shipped to me and they were both broken in one way or another.  I had originally thought I might turn this into a pattern, but if I do that I would need to find a better quality umbrella frame.)  And, on retrospect, maybe I should have gone with a slightly smaller version.  This 60″ wide umbrella is big enough for two!

Once I had the pattern designed, it wasn’t very hard to piece it all together.  It is pieced with Aurifil thread which stitched wonderfully.  The only broken thread I had was when I was sewing with the ‘pedal to the metal’.  Getting it on the frame though was a different story.  Let’s just say there was a lot of trial and error, and several days of refitting.  It has been treated with a waterproofing product, so although I took pictures on a sunny day (sunny days just work better for picture taking), it can be used in the rain.

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All entries are to be uploaded to AGF’s Pinterest board today.  I can’t wait to see what everyone made.  Voting is done by pinning and liking.   Please do not pin from this site since it cannot be tracked.  You actually have to pin from the Art Gallery Fabrics board on Pinterest.  Go take a look and vote for your favorite (hint, hint).  Here is a link to the challenge entries and mine is under “Make It Right – Apparel”.  http://pinterest.com/artgalleryfab/make-it-right-apparel/.

I still had about 10-days left until the deadline for submitting projects, so I thought I would just ‘throw together’ a baby quilt with the left over fabric and submit it as well.  Honeyman laughed at me in thinking I could just ‘throw’ something together – I tend to lean more towards the complicated projects rather than simple ones.  I thought it was possible, but I ended up getting sick for about 5-6 days and was not able to get it finished in time.  But here is a sneak peak of it.  Hopefully, I’ll have it finished in the next week.  Although it won’t be finished in time to be submitted for the challenge, a finish is still something to be celebrated.

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

Pillow Pop

I finished a beautiful pillow today.  We are doing a pillow exchange at the Triangle MQG this month, so I made this pillow for my secret pillow partner.  This pattern is called Gumdrop and can be found in the book Pillow Pop.  Our pillows were supposed to be 18″ so I had to adjust the size of each block slightly.

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I had a lot of fun making this, and love all the bright colors.  From what I hear, a long running stitch is all the rage in modern quilting now.  So, I decided to quilt this pillow using the long running stitch, and I love how it turned out.  I really hope she likes it!

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I have another finish this week as well.  I finished my challenge project for the Make it Right Challenge with Art Gallery Fabrics.  I have not yet been able to take picture though– it’s been rainy all week, and today was much too windy outside.  Hopefully one other day this weekend I can get some pictures taken and show it to you.  In the meantime, here is a sneak peak…

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DSC_0252-001 sneak peak 2Oh, and I made one more square for Quilts for Boston and got those mailed off to the Boston MQG.  Click here to see the other blocks I made.

DSC_0260-001Overall, a very successful sewing week, fit in with work and a Kenny Chesney concert.

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

Madrona Road Challenge – How Ideas are Born

This past February I joined the Triangle MQG and decided to participate in my first challenge with the group.  We were given seven fat eighths of fabric from the Madrona Road line by Violet Craft for Michael Miller fabrics.

2013-05-13Our challenge was to make something, anything really, from these 7 fat eights.  And the only real rule was that you could only add other solids.  No other prints were allowed.  To make this even more challenging, I didn’t particularly care for this fabric.  I liked the black with the writing, and the blue with the lighter blue criss-cross lines (I think it’s called haystack).  But overall, the rest of the fabric is definitely not something I would have picked out.  But it was free and I just couldn’t pass up free fabric or the challenge — I really do like to be challenged.  The unveiling was planned for the May meeting — just 3 months away.

Oh, what should I make?  When I first got the fabric I was working a lot and didn’t have much time to think about it, but it was still in the back of my mind.  A month later, I still didn’t have a clue.  I thought I might want to turn it into a full size lap quilt, but seven fat eighths didn’t leave me much to work with.  But work was slowing down just a bit, so I had a little time to play around.

I played with squares…

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I played with circles…  I even colored the circles to match the fabric hoping that would help.

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Did I want to make a stuffed toy?  Did I want to make a skirt, or a bag, or a _____ (file in the blank)?

But, nothing seemed to be ‘just right’.  So, I put it aside for another couple of weeks while I got through the next deadline for work, and while I waited for the fabric to ‘talk’ to me.  Maybe if I listened hard enough, it would tell me what it wanted to be.  So I would look at it and think about it, and look at it and think about it…  This went on for a couple of weeks before I figured out what it wanted to be…

This blue haystack I decided wanted to be an elephant.

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Cool, I could do an elephant on a baby quilt.  I like baby quilts.  I can be just as creative as I want to be, they don’t take too much time to make or quilt, and they make great baby gifts. But how do I fit the other fabrics into this?  I could make an elephant parade, or elephants stacked on top of each other, or I could simply make just one elephant and use the other fabrics as a border.  Or… the one elephant could be holding something in his trunk.  Yes, that’s it!  And the idea for my challenge quilt was born.  It was designed, appliqued, quilted, and bound in about a week, and weeks before the unveiling at the meeting yesterday.

Meet Elijah Elephant.  (He’s a nice elephant, so we can give him a nice strong Bible name.)

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This is the back.

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I also free motion quilted smaller elephants onto the background.

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I’m very pleased with how he turned out.  If I had planned to make an elephant from the very beginning, I don’t think it would have been as good.  I think my brain needed to go through the process of figuring out the personality of the fabric.

And that’s how ideas are born… many weeks and months of planning, thinking, designing, and thinking some more.  Then the idea is finally formed and the plan implemented, usually in a much quicker manner than what it took to come up with the idea to start with.

Linking up with Plum & June Blossom Art Quilts for Let’s Get Acquainted. (Hope I”m doing this right)

Let's get acquainted

I’m Excited!

I’m so excited today!  First, my craft room is featured on Art Gallery Fabric’s blog today.  Check it out here

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Second, I got in my Art Gallery Fabric’s fabric order today.

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I plan to participate in their ‘Make it Right Challenge’.  The prizes for the winners are awesome — cash and a swag bag full of goodies!  It doesn’t get any better than that.

I also got in the other item I need for this challenge.  But I can’t show you what that is or you’ll know what I’m making.  It’s a surprise!  I’ll post an update when I have it finished.

Their cotton fabrics are delicious.  They are so soft, silky, and smooth.  They are really easy to work with, and stitch up ever so nicely.  I participated in the monthly challenges they sponsored last year.  It was so much fun and really challenged my creativity.  I actually won one of those — it was thrilling!  Here are some of the pictures from those challenges.

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I can’t wait to start sewing!!

Messenger Bag Challenge

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Tonight I am posting my last monthly challenge for Art Gallery Fabrics.  So sad!  Our challenge this month was to create a messenger bag.  I wanted something sleek and modern without sacrificing usefulness.  Cool modern fabric, an awesome button, a cool design, and I think I hit it.  There are pockets-a-plenty –, a place to hold your pens, water bottle, phone, several note pads, and multiple cards or id’s.  The strap is adjustable from 29″-51″ so it will fit all sizes across the body.

I won the August apron challenge.  The prize — 10 yards of free fabric.  Woo hoo!!  If you know how much I love fabric, you understand how much I really like that prize.

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I have thoroughly enjoyed the monthly challenges.  I have definitely learned a lot and have pushed myself to design my own pattern each month.  Some months had me sitting here with a perplexed look on my face for a short time while trying to figure out how something would best be put together.  My husband would laugh at me, but I would eventually figure it out.  I also enjoyed seeing what everyone else made.  We had some very creative folks.  I’m really going to miss this.  AGF has a really cool blog and they have a group of designers call the Fat Quarter Gang that post weekly tutorials.  Go check it out… I’m sure you’ll find something you like.

Anyway, wish me luck!

Merry (day after) Christmas!

Merry-Christmas

Merry (day after) Christmas!  I was hoping to post again before now, but I have been sick with the crud that’s been going around so everything else got put on the back burner.  Our plans for brunch at the in-laws, dinner get-together with dad’s family, and then my sister and family staying with us for several days was all canceled.  Being sick is not fun, and being sick at Christmas really sucks.  But, then I had to remind myself that there were others in this corner of the world that were having a much worse Christmas – families with loved ones in the hospital, families recently affected by the shooting at the elementary school in Connecticut, families with loved ones in the military overseas, those affected by the storms ravaging the U.S. on Christmas day, and those lonely individuals with no families with which to celebrate.  It’s so easy to have a pity party because our plans get canceled by something we can’t control.  But when you stop to think about those that have it much worse off than you, it becomes easy to thank the Lord for the blessings we do have — family and friends that we love and miss but that we know we will see again soon, health that we know will return once the crud has run its course, a warm home, and knowing that we have life because of God’s son that was born on this day very long ago.

for unto us a child is born

So, I didn’t get as many projects finished as I was planning on before Christmas.  But I did want to share a few of them with you.   I have been participating in a monthly challenge through Art Gallery Fabrics.  Last month the challenge was to make a patchwork toy.  I designed and made this cute little turtle for my niece.  Each scale is a learning toy — she can learn to button, snap, tie, velcro, zip, and one is a noise maker. Also, if you lift each scale up, I have patch-worked a letter. As you go around the turtle, the letters spell her name starting with the T on top. And opening the zipper also allows you to peek-a-boo through to the letter.

Torreya Turtle

She is a little young to really play with the turtle now so I also made her some soft rings from a pattern found here.  http://www.michaelmillerfabrics.com/Blog/Baby_rings.pdf These are a great way to use up those fabric scraps and are nice soft toys for a wee one.

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Also, I found a great project from a young lady I met at the local fabric store.  If you have children that love to play with Legos, you will understand the fact that they get everywhere.  All those little bricks are super hard to keep up with.  She told me about a ‘lego play mat’ that lays flat in order to be played on, but then when you finish playing you just pull up the strings on either side, tie a bow, and the legos are cleaned up.  I bet this doesn’t stop all the stray legos, but it should help.  I made this for my nephew.  It was super quick — I like projects like that.

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There are many tutorials on the internet.  I skimmed several and started out using one, but I ended up making some changes as I went along.  I plan to make another one in the next month or two for my grandson, but I want to make it a play mat for cars rather than legos.  I found some cool fabric that will be perfect as a play mat for cars.  I’ll post a tutorial when I make it.

Up next though is the next, and last, challenge through Art Gallery fabrics — a messenger bag.  Wish me luck!