Sunday, July 29, 2012

Giveaway Winner!

Lucky number 15! Congratulations to Ginette! Email has been sent. Thank you all for entering - it was really exciting to read through all the comments. Some of the answers were pretty funny, and I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who keeps a seam ripper with me at all times, lol! You guys are awesome. :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

WIP Wednesday: EZ Dresden, Mario, Patchwork

I spent the weekend with family at my mom's lake house - I had a homemade birthday cake with a certain dreaded number of candles - ugh, just take a look...

I have been telling people for the longest  time that I was a year younger than I actually am, to delay the dreaded three-oh, but I can't escape it any longer! The duping is over! I am not exactly sure what is going on, because I feel like I just graduated college. I suspect trickery.

I have made an embarassing amount of progress this week. My EZ Dresden (above) was my biggest accomplishment - it's almost done! I just need to sew three more rows. I am hoping to be done with it very soon, I know exactly how I'm going to quilt it.

I finished my Mario block. It was a LOT easier to work with a smaller section, much more manageable. This time I used a piece of damp muslin to lay overtop of the blocks while I ironed. It worked beautifully. Another improvement I made was ironing the seams open!

It wasn't exactly fun, but it made sewing the block a lot easier. Speaking of ironing.. this is my new iron! I love it! My fiance gave me a few presents today (he is spreading them out over the week, yay!) and one of them was the iron I really wanted. It's very small and lightweight, but it irons wonderfully and it's much easier to get into little areas to press open seams.

Mr. Mario isn't 100% accurate, you can see where some of the seams got a little wonky.. and his foot is sorta messed up.. lol. But when you are looking at it as a whole the mistakes sort of blend in and you don't notice them. I think the next block will turn out better. I can tell I'm going to be behind on this quilt a long!

Okay, I need help guys! Help as in sewing management therapy. LOL. I have a strong urge to sew a patchwork quilt. I am repressing it, because I have so many WIPs that need attention, but this stack is very tempting! I cut these out while I was making a charm pack to give away - check it out! If you already have, thank you for entering! :) First giveaway - so exciting!

I am linking up with WIP Wednesdays, hosted at Lee's blog, Freshly Pieced! Thanks for stopping by! :)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

My first giveaway: Scrappy Charm Pack

I'm celebrating! I've been blogging for two months, and it has been So. Much. Fun. Seriously, I feel like I slipped right into this quilting community so naturally - thanks to you guys! Quilting bloggers are so welcoming. :)  I sort of feel like I "know" some of you - I love being able to joke around in the emails and on twitter. It's fun having a common passion with such a great group of people! You guys are so great. Warm fuzzies for everyone!

If you are new to my blog - hello and welcome! To get ya started, check out the top links, About Me, Finished Projects, or maybe my latest Work In Progress Wednesday, where we share our current projects.

On to the prize. I cut a charm pack out of some of my favorite fabrics in my stash. There is some designer stuff in there - Moda, Michael Miller, the Ric Rac Rabbits, the Crabtastic Newsprint, as well as some Kona solids. There is also some JoAnn's/Hobby Lobby type fabrics, but I promise they are all soft and wonderful, otherwise I wouldn't put them in this prize.

I think they would be a great start to a scrappy patchwork quilt - I actually cut some for myself while I was at it. :)

The Rules

Be a follower. :) Then leave me a comment (or two, for two chances to win).

Chances to win:
Chance 1. Leave a comment listing one thing you might find in a sewing basket or traveling sewing bag. It's okay if there are repeat answers, be as creative or non-creative as you like. :)
Chance 2. Tweet or facebook about this and let me know ya did! Something like.. "Giveaway @makemeaquilt - scrappy charm pack up for grabs!" 

The giveaway will remain open until Saturday, July 28th, 8pm Eastern time (my birthday!). One winner will be chosen at random and announced shortly after the deadline. If you are not sure if you are a "no-reply" blogger or not, leave your email address in the comment so I can contact you!

Giveaway is open to anyone! Good luck! :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I am always late to WIP Wednesdays! What the heck. Anyway, I've made some progress, not a lot.. and I sure won't make any this weekend - going out of town! It's my birthday next week, so I'm going to see my family and float around on the lake and stuff. :)

I am having the most fun ever making these "half log cabin" blocks. They are fast, they are so bright and colorful - I just love them. I decided to go with the purple, grey, aqua, orange color scheme. Six blocks out of twenty four done.

"I'm a cat, so I gotta walk all over this." 

Next up - Mario! I wrote a post on this yesterday. I better finish this block!

No progress on Dresden, or my Liberty of London wall hanging. Sad popsicle.

Linking up to Freshly Pieced!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

1st Mario Block & The Discovery of Starch

Cut To Pieces

Summer is a hard season for sewing. There is so much more going on with family and friends, so much more temptation to be outside enjoying the sunshine that is such a rarity in Michigan after October.  A lot of my weekends are reserved for having people staying with us, or for traveling to visit family. This is a wonderful thing, I just wish I felt like I have made more progress this month!

Another wish of mine would be for some rain. In the city I live in, we haven't had rain since May. Okay, we got 1/2" of rain in June, but that is nothing! And no rain so far in July. Temps are soaring into the 90's on a regular basis. My grass is dead, my plants are thirsty - come on rain! It'd sure give me a good excuse to spend a large chunk of time in the sewing room. ;)

Last night I started working on my Mario quilt! My fiance and I are big time Mario fans - it's the only game we play on the Wii together. Making this quilt is something I've been really excited about. After making the first block, I'm a little.. worried. Here is how the process of making my first Mario block went down. If you aren't participating, it might not be that interesting, but you might skip down to the part about "cutting the squares", where I talk about starch!

(Wow, this turned out to be a long post!)

I bought most of my fabric supplies online, but I didn't pick up the fat quarter pieces, because I knew I was going to get this big package of Kona layer cake sized solids in the mail, from a swap I participated in. This is such a treat! I just want to stare and sort and re-sort these babies. So pretty. :) I was thinking I'd be able to pull some of these to make up for the fat quarters I didn't buy.

I couldn't find the wash out stabilizer that Angela recommended for using with this quilt a long. I ended up buying the lightest weight Pellon fusible they had at JoAnn's. This is supposed to  make sewing these tiny 1.5" square blocks together a breeze. Unfortunately I didn't have that experience, which I'll talk about more further down the post. I am really worried that this quilt is going to be... Very heavy. And very stiff.  Hmm!

If this quilt gets finished, I am toying with the idea of using something besides batting for the center, to cut down on the weight. Flannel? Has anyone tried using an alternative to batting, and what was your experience? By the time this quilt is finished, it will be winter, but I don't want to get smothered by video game characters in my sleep! Lol.

Cutting the fabric into squares
1.5" squares need to be very accurate. I recently heard someone say they use starch every time they quilt, to get a very crisp, flat fabric when ironing, and to stiffen it up for accuracy when cutting and sewing. I figured this would be the best time to try it out, because of the tiny pieces I'll be using, so I picked up a can at JoAnn's.

I cut small sections (like 9 or 12 inches wide) off my yardage, so I wasn't cutting 1.5" strips off a 3 yard stretch of fabric. I would lay the small section out on the floor and spray it down with starch, holding the can about 6" - 8" from the fabric. I didn't soak it, I just did a light, even spray. I don't know what starch will do to the carpet, but I don't really care about mine personally, as it's already somewhat trashed as a result of being in the sewing/craft room!

I would flip the fabric over and iron the other side that I didn't spray. I don't know if it matters, it just made me a little nervous to press an iron onto the wet side. It probably doesn't matter. Press the iron down, but try not to "push" the fabric around, because the starch will stiffen the fabric into a stretched position. Just press.

Cutting was definitely easier with this starched fabric! I was really impressed. I plan on continuing to use the starch for this quilt, I think it really helped with the accuracy of my block cutting. But boy, it took a LONG time to cut these squares! And cutting is my least favorite part of quilting. I just may take a day to cut a LOT of the squares out all at once so I can just get it over with. :P

Layout out the squares
This was the fun part, though it took a lot longer than I thought it would. Make sure to double check your work, because it's easy to place the wrong square down - I did it half  a dozen times! I only ended up laying out as many blocks that would fit on the width of interfacing I had.

I drew a grid onto the stabilizer this time, but I might not do it again. If you draw one straight line down the center, and then one perpendicular line across the width, you'll have your start lines and you can work from the center out. Everything should keep square if you get the first blocks right.Though I'm not sure I should be giving this advice, as you can see the white gaps between the blocks above!

Fusing the squares to the stabilizer
Ugh. This was.. almost disastrous. I've used interfacing before, but not in this way, with all these tiny pieces. I should have followed the directions more carefully.

The directions say to get another large piece of fabric wet and lay it on top of your work. I didn't do that because I was afraid it would mess up the squares and move them out of place. I now actually think it might help keep them in place, but I could be wrong.

I just took a spray bottle and dampened my squares. Whoops! This made the squares curl up on the edges - all my hard work was compromised! I had to be extremely careful with the iron to flatten out the squares without shifting them.. it was really hard. And it didn't turn out "perfect", but it was pretty close to perfect. But I wanted it to be perfect. You know how that goes - it's our hobby, we want to get better at it, we want to be proud of what we are doing. The little gaps between the squares drove me crazy. But it's okay. What's that saying? Keep calm and quilt on...

Sewing the rows
Halleluiah! Finally, an easy step. Right? Not so much. For the first round of sewing, yes, it's easy. The interfacing wants to fold along the rows, so just fold, sew, repeat.

Shave just enough of the seam allowance off to separate the interfacing and you are ready to sew the other direction.

The other direction turned out to be SO HARD! My sewing machine did NOT like sewing through all those layers of fabric and more fabric and interfacing and more interfacing. I needed my walking foot, but as that doesn't have the 1/4" edge on it to make sure my seam allowance is accurate, I couldn't really use it. The result was that my rows got really wobbly!

Finished block

I am disappointed. I can't use this interfacing again, that's just not going to happen. It's too hard to sew through everything on my machine with enough accuracy to make me satisfied. And the block is very stiff. It takes a long time to put this block together, so to end up with wobbly rows and a block that is so heavy - I need to make some changes.  

I'm going to try to sew the next block with NO interfacing. It might be really difficult. I'm going to stay positive! I want a finished quilt that has straight rows and doesn't weight 30 pounds, so I think this is the solution. The wash out interfacing is an option, but I'd have to find it (which is apparently kind of difficult) and it's expensive. So it's probably not really an option.

Another possible outcome is that these blocks might turn into throw pillows. Sigh.. On the bright side, I'll have a huge stash of solids!  All that un-used blue. Lots of possibilities!

Thank you to anyone who is actually still reading this, I didn't mean for it to turn into such a book! I don't know if I would even read a post this long, so I don't blame you if you just skimmed through to look at the pictures!! :D

Another big thank you to Angela, from Cut To Pieces, for organizing this quilt-a-long.  It really is an amazing quilt. :)

P.S. We've been watering our garden like crazy because of the drought - just look at this little watermelon! Oh my gosh it's so cute!!!

What is better than a little watermelon? A BABY watermelon! Ahhh!! Things in miniature are always adorable.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

New Fabric, New Quilt

I received a very large box of fabric this past Thursday - ahh!! Exciting! I think you all know the feeling. :) I wanted to start working with it right away, but we had visitors stay with us over the weekend, so I didn't get to do anything until today. It was so hard to wait!! Lol.

I have quite a few WIPs going on right now, so I didn't really need to start anything new.. but the lure of new fabrics sucked me in! I sewed some improvisationalish blocks today. My plan was that I knew I wanted to use the new fabric, and I wanted it to be a rectangular "half log cabin".  I'm sure this block exists, and has a real name, but I don't know what it is, so I'm going with half a log cabin. I sewed four blocks, without measuring the strips. The only thing I know for sure is that I'll have 24 blocks measuring 12"x16", to make a quilt that is 64"x72".

I started to realize that I accidentally created a color scheme that I really liked! The first two blocks shown above have purple, orange, grey and an aqua color.

I can't decide if I should go for a scrappy look, and use all the fabrics, including my stash - or go with a dedicated color scheme. I pulled some fabrics and I think they look really good together, but I really love the scrappy look as well!

Decisions, decisions.. :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Paper Piecing Update

A quick post today - just wanted to share an update on how my paper piecing is going. I made two more animals this week - a goat/ram and a swan. These two didn't turn out as great as last week's squirrel and pig, but I think it's because I didn't choose the best fabrics this time around, especially on the swan. Luckily I have some new fabrics coming tomorrow (yay!), and a Kona swap due back to me very soon - 64 layer cake sized colors! Double yay! So I can keep chugging along with plenty of prints and solids to choose from.

Here is the link to the pdf file of this goat/ram. As always, if you noticed anything wrong with the pattern, don't hesitate to let me know! :)

Swan link. Eeps, that yellow is so see through! I think it'll be okay with a nice, light batting behind it. My yellow stash is so very sadly low, so I had to go with this big print. Umm... I might re-do this block. I'm so hard on myself, I gotta stop! :P

From last week, here is the pig pattern.

And of course, the squirrel.

In other news, I'm really close to finishing my EZ Dresden top, and am starting my Mario quilt! Angela from Cut to Pieces has posted the first block from the quilt-a-long. I'm about to cut - really excited!!

Told ya it'd be a quick post! ;) Happy Wednesday, the work week's half over!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sewing Room Tour

This past weekend I couldn't take it anymore! My sewing room was a disaster. Embarrassingly messy. I had plans to work on my Dresden quilt but I couldn't even make enough space on the table to cut properly, so I knew it was time. Sigh.. It took much too long, but I'm happy I did it! 

I give you the tour! My sewing room doesn't really have much personality, and it's kinda ghetto, but I love that it's just my space. I feel really lucky that I have a whole (tiny!) room to myself to work in and make a complete mess of every so often. :)

I want to post this as a "before" tour. I'm challenging myself to make this space more beautiful, but I'm giving myself some time.. there are quite a few things I'd like to do, but I wouldn't want those things to get in the way of my sewing time, lol!

I have a big "L" shaped desk that my fiance and I put together using cheap lumber from Lowe's and some MDF. It took us two hours to build the work station, and it was probably about $40. Sturdy as heck too, that stuff is heavy!

It's nice to have a big window for light and the view of the plants and things in the yard - it's really pretty when it rains. The ledge that goes around the room is so handy! Yes, it get's cluttered, but I just call it convenient storage.

My sister gave me this awesome photo frame a while ago (above, on the left), it's sitting on the ledge with the default picture still in it! Ahh. I'm the worst, lol.

Nice big area for cutting and ironing...

This bookcase is my work in progress station. Each project has it's own little cubby.

Here's the inside of the closet - I'll just show you the half that is sewing related. The other side is a bit shameful, lol, but I promise it isn't a graveyard of old sewing projects! Just extra storage for stuff I should probably throw away.

I've always kept my stash in these hanging shoe dividers, but only this past weekend did it have any sort of order. I used Jeni's tutorials for folding and organizing ideas. I love how everything looks so pretty now!

Scraps sorted into drawers by color.

Sewing room goals:
  • Sand, paint and seal the ghetto tables white (at least the legs, maybe not the tops)
  • Add a curtain to the underside of the tables to hide the storage and cords
  • Add a window dressing
  • Put a picture in the frame my sister bought me!
  • Hang and frame the giant mirror
  • Cover my dirty ass ironing board, it's repulsive!
  • Decorate the walls a little
  • Clean out the rest of the closet
There ya have it, my favorite room in the house. As a reward for my efforts, I decided my stash is much too small and needs to be stocked! I spluuuurrged and bought 26 half yards of fabric in "stash builder" colors and patterns. has some great basic stuff on sale - I have 13 yards total and it was only $69! I can't tell you how excited I am for this big box to arrive!

Happy Monday everyone, thanks for stoppin by! :D

I'm linking up with PinkChalkStudios "Where I Sew" series - there are a lot of really great looking looking studios out there! Wow! Go checkem out. :)