Friday, December 8, 2017

Rainbow Revisited

My niece, who turns 4 today, is crazy about rainbows.  My sister-in-law tells me that she carries the rainbow doll quilt that I made her everywhere she goes.  Earlier this year, I made a rainbow quilt for myself with a Kona jelly roll.  I decided a few weeks ago that Noodle would get even more joy out of it than I do so I sent it to her for her birthday, along with some rainbow knee socks and a few other goodies.

Totally the right decision!  Look at that smile!  And my sister-in-law managed what I could not: a decent picture of the quilt.  Rainbows are the best.  Happy Birthday, Noodle!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

I Wish You a Merry Quilt Along: Extra Blocks

There are 12 blocks in the I Wish You a Merry Quilt Along.  I decided that I would rather have my final quilt be 4 x 4, so I needed 4 more blocks to bring my total to 16.

My bonus blocks

The first bonus block that I made was a candy cane.  I used this tutorial from Inspired by Fabrics and added extra fabric on the sides to make my block square instead of rectangular.  Adding the holly was my idea and I used the template from the lantern block (block 10).

Next I made the mittens from Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts.  This block was part of her Have a Jolly Little Quilt Along and is already the same size as the I Wish You a Merry Quilt Along blocks.  In fact, Lorna's quilt along was ending as the other was starting and she mentioned in a blog post that the blocks were the same size and could be used as mix-and-match if desired.

I think my favorite of the bonus blocks might be the dove.  I used a free pattern from Craftsy that is actually meant to be an embroidered ornament.  I made the original a little bigger (I think 170% on the copier) and still made the dove in 3 pieces: body and two wings.  I freehanded the olive branch, and let me tell you, "I drew this freehand" is not something you will hear me say very often!

My final bonus block is the gingerbread man.  My original plan was to trace my cookie cutter but the one I have is much smaller than I remembered; the big one I was picturing must actually be my mom's. So I found a printable coloring page and used that shape outline for my gingerbread man, though I did enlarge him a little on the copier.

I still have two of the original twelve I Wish You A Merry Quilt Along blocks to make and then I can finalize my layout and start assembly.  I am doing quilt as you go and my method of joining blocks involves some hand sewing, so the assembly may take a while.  While I would love to finish the entire quilt in December, I'm not sure that's realistic.  My goal for the OMG linky party hosted by Patty at Elm Street Quilts is to complete my blocks and assemble each of the four rows.

Elm Street Quilts

Sunday, December 3, 2017

November Bee Blocks

Flying Geese.  Seems quilters either love them or hate them.  I don't exactly hate them, but I certainly don't love them either.  And yet as luck would have it, both November Queens in my online bees asked for blocks that feature flying geese. One of the reasons I love these bees is that it forces me to make things I wouldn't pick.  And I while I wouldn't have picked geese-heavy blocks, I liked these!

Queen Laura asked for Scrap Bag Geese in any and all shades of pink.  I liked doing the geese in two parts and putting them together, so these scrappy geese were actually a lot of fun!   I enjoyed these and think that all the pink geese will look amazing together.  Can't wait to see them all fly!

Queen Paige designed her own tree block in honor of the Loblolly Pines in her part of South Carolina.  She sent each member of our bee some ground fabric and I love it--it's the color of Carolina red clay! Paige gave us some wiggle room on the height of the block because her setting allows for variation.  Good thing, because mine are not the same at all!  I love these trees and think Paige's quilt will be amazing.

And while this block wasn't for a bee, it doesn't really fit anywhere else.  When I was at QuiltCon way back in February, the Michael Miller booth let you pick out 4 fabrics from a list and cut you a sample of those fabrics.  In return, they asked for 6" (finished) blocks that will be turned into quilts for kids' charities.  I completely forgot about this until I found my fabric bundle and saw that I still had a week before the deadline.  I looked through some block choices and picked out Quatrefois.  I used this tutorial.  I really like this block and think it's something I am likely to make again in the future.

This ends the year for me in terms of bees.  Stash bee runs January-November, so this was it.  Bee Inspired does have a December queen, but it's me!  So I get to sit back while others make blocks for me.  I really like these online bees: I make new friends and I get to try a lot of different blocks.  I'm in for another year of both!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Advent Calendar

My goal for November was to make a quilted Advent Calendar in time for December 1st.  Made it with one day to spare!

I looked at a few patterns and read several tutorials and ultimately followed the method of this tutorial by Fanny Lu Designs.  I really wanted to use the 5" squares I have collected through various I Spy swaps over the years, so my measurements don't match hers, but I did use her method of making the pockets.  I have number templates that I've used for several other projects that I traced onto fusible web for the dates.

The background is Kona Snow.  The backing is a really fabulous Alexander Henry Christmas fabric with Aloha Santa (I have no idea what it is called).  I had 2 half-yard cuts that were prizes from a promotion at a local quilt shop a few summers ago.  It was a "finish your projects" initiative, and for every 2 projects you finished off your list, you got a prize bundle of 2 half yards of fabric.  I think I finished 8 projects that summer (great incentive!) and this fabric was in two of my prize bundles.  The solid on the back is Kona Willow.  The numbers are scraps of Kona Red, Clover, & Pepper.  The red & white stripe in the binding was also from one of those prizes, and as soon as I saw it I know I would use it for the binding of the advent calendar whenever I got to it.  I love how it looks.

Munchkin still has Halloween candy so I didn't want to do chocolates or candy in the pockets.  Several days have stickers.  I bought some small dinosaurs at the dollar store, I bought a Mickey Mouse stamps set from the dollar section of Target that I split up, and I bought a package of Paw Patrol socks--luckily his feet are still small so the socks fit in the pockets!  Nothing big, but I think he will like getting a small surprise every day. 

Here it is after Husband and I filled the pockets.

Finishing the Advent Calendar was my November One Monthly Goal for the linky party hosted by Patty at Elm Street Quilts.

Elm Street Quilts

Monday, November 27, 2017

Halloween Costume

Yes, I realize we're now past Thanksgiving!  But I never posted about my Halloween costume.  I used the book Playful Hoodies by Mary Rasch to turn a red hooded sweatshirt into my Red Riding Hood costume.  This book is great!  I also used it to make Munchkin's Superman costume last year and there is a dinosaur sweatshirt on the horizon for Christmas if I can get it done.

I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but there is red ribbon all along the part that was cut, which is really what makes it look like a finished piece of clothing.  I don't sew clothes, but this was more or less within my capabilities.  You can tell it used to be a sweatshirt, but it's also pretty clear who I am.  I work at a community college library and I like my costumes to be recognizable by a large percentage of my population.  It was also comfortable to wear all day.

Munchkin was a dalmatian for Halloween.  I spent about $10, as I bought a long-sleeved white t-shirt, black paint, and fabric medium.  I then painted random black splotches on the t-shirt.  I asked if he wanted ears and he said, "yes.  And a tail." Tail!  I hadn't thought of that!  Sadly, I can't find the picture of the tail but he still wears the shirt, so I will take a picture next time.  I used some scrap fleece for both the ears and the tail.  The ears were glued into his fire helmet (Christmas present from Grandma last year) with hot glue.  I sewed the tail into a tube and attached it to the bottom of his t-shirt: the only sewing in the project. 

But the best part of his costume wasn't made by mom, it was made by dad.  A fire truck!

This was a large box that Husband turned into a fire truck.   It has headlights (touch lights from the dollar store) and flashing lights (the kind bicyclers frequently wear).  It is truly amazing.  A little hard to maneuver down driveways, but amazing.

 And here's our Halloween family portrait:

My Red Riding Hood cape was project number #18 on my list of Q4 goals for the globally hosted finish along

Friday, November 17, 2017

I Wish You a Merry Quilt ALong progress report

I am really enjoying the I Wish You a Merry Christmas Quilt Along!  Ten of the twelve blocks have now been released.  Here are nine of mine:

My deal with myself when I decided to start yet another project is that I can't buy anything for this project; everything (including batting and backing) is coming from stash. In the beginning I was worried about the lack of a unified look, but now I figure there is enough variety that scrappy will look just fine.

I've previously showed blocks 1-5.  However, I've redone two of those.  First, I decided that my original Santa's Belt (block #3) was too abstract to be immediately recognizable, so I redid it with solids.  I forgot to take a solo picture, but you can see in the center of photo above.

I liked Christmas Tree Farm (block 2) by Janda Bend Quilts so much that I expanded it and turned it into a holiday decoration (blog post coming) so I needed to make a second version for the quilt.  One of the QAL hosts is also doing quilt as you go and I LOVED her quilting design, so I copied it.  Don't you love the outline of the trees in the empty squares?

Block 6 was an angel designed by Sandra Healy.  I modified this one a little bit and am really pleased with my version.  I simplified to one background and added the tree as if the angel was putting the star on top.

Block 7 is a Poinsettia and comes from Sandy Star Designs.  My points don't really match on the leaves but I'm going with it anyway. I used one of the circles on the train die with my AccuQuilt to get the perfect circle for the center of the flower.

Block 8 is not pictured in the group photo, though I did make it.  It's a pair of presents and comes from Alice Samuel's Quilt Co.  After seeing a lot of quilters struggle with this block on Facebook, I decided to use the alternative instructions from host Pretty Piney and do the ribbon as all applique. I'm still not really pleased with it and I'm not sure I'm going to use it my quilt, to be honest. Many quilters used an alternate present block and I may look at options, or I may pick some other Christmas/winter element and use that instead.  Or I might decide these presents are fine any use them anyway.  I've still got a few weeks until all the blocks are released and made and I need to decide.

I had been saying from early on that I hoped for a reindeer and block 9 did not disappoint!  Snowy Days Quilting designed a fabulous reindeer block that is super cute!  The facebook community for the QAL has been really great and since I rarely make the blocks the day the pattern is released, I get to see what everyone else does before getting started.  I saw someone put a round nose on their reindeer and instantly knew I wanted a round nose, too.  Once again, I used one of the circles from the AccuQuilt die that is for a train.  I think maybe this reindeer needs a name.

That brings us to the current block from Cwilt Fabric & Haberdashery.  I admit, I didn't love the lantern when I first saw it.  But when I saw people on facebook putting a candle inside the lantern, I fell in love.  I used a candle and I took some of the other elements in the original block out, so mine is much simpler but I really like it.  Holly is another item that I hoped would show up at some point, and while this isn't strictly a holly block, it checks that box for me which makes me happy.

Only two blocks left!  I have decided that I want my quilt to be four by four, so I will make four extra blocks to bring my total up to sixteen.  Problem is, I don't want to duplicate anything and since I don't know what the last two blocks are, I can't make the extras yet.  Sigh.  I doubt this will be done before Christmas, but when I get down about that I just remember how much fun I'm having.

Monday, November 6, 2017

November OMG

Several years ago, I saw a quilted advent calendar in a magazine.  Munchkin was about a year old and I thought it would be fun to make while he was young.  It's been in my thoughts for 3 years now, and on some finish along lists, but I haven't done it.

Well, today is the day!  (Or, rather, November 2017 is the month!)  I am making it my one monthly goal to get this advent calendar done by December 1st.  I went through all my Christmas/winter I Spy squares and picked out 25 for the calendar. 

I'm linking up with One Monthly Goal for the linky party hosted by Patty at Elm Street Quilts.

Elm Street Quilts