Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sewing Fever

Hello All...
Today, well a few days ago... I got the hankering to make a quilt. Quite honestly, that doesn't happen often, like it should, because I am too busy doing other things to support myself in the "quilting industry" to have time to think much about making a quilt. But, it happened. I realized that my son Cade, who is 24 and going to school and working and living in an apartment with roommates, did not have his own quilt for his bed. Blankets, yes. But not a quilt that I had made for him. For shame!! What kind of mother am I???
(Now I will have to make quilts for all of my other kids too...)

So I thought of what I would choose if I were to make him a quilt. I got online for inspiration. (None of my own fabrics would work, as you can imagine.)
After perusing around a bit, I decided upon this group of fabrics from Ty Pennington's Impressions collection for Free Spirit. (love Ty...he's such a big heart...)

I picked them out because Cader boy is a blue boy. He has beautiful blue eyes, and always looks quite handsome whenever he wears that color, if I do say so myself.

(This is Cade...wish he had on a blue shirt so I could show you what I mean.)

Look how he is trying to be happy even though he doesn't have his own quilt:)

...Of course the grey-green fabric adds contrast, and I love that, so I added them into the mix. I put them into my shopping cart, and made the purchase. But when they arrived, I realized I may not have bought enough fabric. Story of my life. So I did what any seasoned sewer does and I utilized my "stash". 

Would-ya-looky-here what I found in and amongst the feminine fabrics of all kinds...

These  two wonderful beach inspired cottons were right there staring me down! I grabbed them greedily and combined them with my collection.

The result was just about perfect, as if I had planned it.


So now I am ready to go. If you are like me, you don't want to waste a lot of time wondering what quilt design you are going to do. So I just imagined up something in my little brain, and came up with what I decided was going to be perfect for Cade. He's not the kind of kid who looks comfortable sitting there cleaning his gun in a log cabin. And I wouldn't exactly call him the modern man either...he's just simple. Straight forward. Not trying to be any certain style. I had to design a simple quilt, and although I am sure there is probably this very design out there somewhere, I will claim it as my own because I want to;)

At least I hope it will be super fast and easy.
This quilt will be about 57"x 88" when finished, if my calculations are correct. (Don't laugh)
I'm starting this tomorrow (Friday). I'd like to involve you all in the process. 
Let me just make this one disclaimer:
I have never said that I was a great quilter. In fact, quilting is something I have only dabbled in here and there... and I never took a class, so don't judge me! This is so that any of you who are novices like me can feel OK about sort of stumbling through a quilt project, because you have lots of company! If you are a pro, try to keep your criticism to a minimum;) Thank you.

I have created a few very simple steps for myself to follow. This is done in the manner that my brain operates. If it does not make sense to you, just...consider the source, and write your own directions!

(The easy steps are on the left, and my explanations are on the right.)

...So I chose my 10 fabrics. I'm going to wash my quilt after it is all finished, so I won't pre-shrink.

I am going to make myself a template from template plastic to make this process easier. Since I need 54 squares to make the quilt, I am going to cut 6 10" squares from each of my 10 fabrics. That will give me 60 squares; leaving me some extra squares in case I need more of something. I think it will help me to match colors how I want them. Besides, its easier to just cut six of everything.
Since I will have some left over, maybe I will make a pillow sham to match!

I am thinking I will stack about 4 squares at a time, and lay them on my cutting mat, lined up  neatly with a vertical line so I can lay my ruler about 4" from the top left edge, and at about 4" from the bottom right edge. You can change the angle as you wish, but be sure you cut all your squares at the same angle. Now I'm going to repeat that process till all of my squares have been sectored. (I like that word)  

  Now comes the fun part... or the part that drives you crazy...depending on your point of view.
Mix up the sectors in all the ways you can think of, and then again and again till you have used up all your stuff. Stitch them diagonally, right sides facing each other, in 1/4" seams, and press the seams to one side.

 This is what they should look like, pretty much. Except I just realized that now it won't be a perfect square anymore. It will be taller than it is wide. I really hope that won't matter(!)
My little brain won't know that till I make this for-reals.

Now lay them out on the floor or a table, and arrange them into 9 rows of 6 across. Work with it until you have a pleasing arrangement. (That's the part that will drive us crazy...or be tons of fun:)
I'm hoping I won't have to use my seam ripper! 
Set your extras aside.
Remember to make it look like the picture up above, or I guess you can arrange them however you darn well want to! Luckily this is not a science project, and I won't be grading you on it:)
I am going to share my top when it's finished, and I don't want to hear any snickering.
Stitch the blocks together in order into horizontal rows. Press seams all one way. Now stitch the rows together till you have it all stitched up.

OK. This last step is the part where we lose lots of would be quilters...where millions of finished tops disappear into the quilting "black hole" of the universe. Don't go there! Finish the darn quilt!! I am speaking to myself the future...because as of yet this is all in theory.

When I get to this point, I will describe to you the process that takes us from quilt top to finished quilt. I will not fail will happen.

So that is my great plan! I would love to have some of you accompany me...if you want to make a similar quilt for fun, or for someone special. Gather your supplies, and I'll see you after I've stitched some blocks!

One of my brilliant commenters suggested that I add 1/2" to the width of the square so now it will be 10 1/2" W x 10" L. I had thought of the same thing last night while I lay in bed, so I guess that's that!

Going to the store right now to get the template plastic I need before I start cutting. Gonna pick up a nice backing fabric and something for the binding too while I'm there. I have a gi-normous roll of cotton quilt batting in my studio, so I don't need that.
After I have a diet coke.

UPDATE!  (again) 

Here is the picture of my finished top! It did not take that long... I started cutting last night, laid it out and arranged the rows, stayed up sewing for a couple of hours, and finished it this morning in about another 1/2 hour. 
I ended up adding a couple more fabric options, and looking at it now, i can see things I would change,  but over-all it's great! 
It was randomly arranged, but I think I would like to see it done in a different way. Maybe next time;)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Announcing the winners of my giveaway contest!!

Hello everyone! As I said on my facebook post today, this is always a difficult decision for me: choosing just a few winners from all of the wonderful and kind comments I received! Therefore...I decided to add more winners in a few of the categories!!

I have already chosen some winners from my facebook commenters, but I also have a list of winners from my blog entrants. (That's you.)
So here we go!

Pattern Pack winners:
Suburban Stitcher!!!

Bag-O'-Scraps Winners:
Colorado Lady!!!
Mean Sarah Jean!!!

Retro Groovy Bag Winner: (facebook entrant: Anna McCurdy!!!)

Snazzy Bag pattern and Soire'e Honeybun winner:


Please email me your mailing addresses so I can get your prizes to you!

Thanks again to everyone who entered! I love you all:)

Have a great Valentine's Day on the 14th!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Giveaway Time!!

Hello everyone!
If you came over from my FB page, welcome! Today I'm doing a giveaway!!
Here's what I'm gifting to random commenters to this post:

1) 1 Pattern Pack: includes Metro Bag, London Peasant Top/Dress for Women, The Stella Skirt, and the Sophisticate Skirt


2) 1 Bag-O'-Scraps: includes lots of my fabric scraps and cuts from my studio!
 (I don't have a picture for this, you will just have to trust me:)

3) 1 Retro "Groovy" Bag handmade by me. (Actual bag, not the pattern)

4) 1 impossible to find "Honey Bun" from my "Soire'e" Collection and a Snazzy Bag pattern to go with it.

That's the whole enchilada.
So...that means there will be four winners!!! Yes, that's right. But wait! There's more...if you call now we'll throw in a...
just kidding:)

Please comment either here, or on the facebook page. Here's that link.
Good Luck!!!