Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Quilted Placemats

Mr. Pirate  & I were recently at my brother and sister-in-law's  house.  Mr. Pirate noticed that the placemats on the table were looking a bit peaked.

She's always a difficult person to get gifts for since she (like myself) doesn't really NEED anything and if she wants some little thing, she's capable of getting it for herself.

But as I sat at the table looking at the placemats, I had a brainstorm ... NEW PLACEMATS!

When Mr. Pirate & I returned home, I immediately set to making a set of 4 placemats for her.  I had carefully looked at her color scheme (blue) and pulled 12 blue fat quarters to make the placemats from an Angie Padilla pattern.

When she opened the box with the placemats, she remembered the amusing incident that occured regarding the placemats and was further *amazed* when she realized that I had made them in the week between we returned home and Christmas.  (I didn't enlighten her that placemats are darn-near an Instant Gratification item and take no time at all to make. :-)  ).

She really, really liked them.  :-)

That picture is just a teaser! For all the gory details, links and more pictures, please visit my web page for the Diane's placemats quilt.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Woven Ribbon Trees

Here's another top from the Pile of Tops that I recently quilted.  The top was pieced in 2010, then sat around, waiting patiently to be quilted.  It had to wait 2 years.  :-)

 It feels wonderful to have another top made into a quilt.

The blue and yellow triangle blocks are from the messload of blocks that I created whilst using a specialty ruler that (for once) is Very Useful. :-)   They are the same blocks that I used in another quilt, Equilateral Triangles, quilted in June 2010.

I used Carla Barrett's "Flying Geese Quilting Design" in the triangles, diagonal cross-hatching in the pale green fabric strips and another of Carla Barrett's designs, "Curly Swirly' for the dark green strips.

This picture is just a teaser! For all the gory details, links and more pictures, please visit my web page for the Woven Ribbon Trees .

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Sedona's "String of Pots"

I am exceedingly happy to be able to show you guys my recently finished project, "String of Pots".  This was a pattern and fabrics I bought in Sedona last year, when Mr. Pirate & I did a road trip there.

I don't normally do a lot of wall-hangings these days, as I have plumb run out of wall space (and I don't want to rotate my stock because *I like what I have hanging there!*)  but this pattern was very attractive and I thought I'd actually have a fighting chance of getting it finished "soon-ish".

I was partially correct. :-)

I pieced the top shortly after returning home but there it sat, waiting patiently.  It wasn't until now, over a year later, that I finally quilted it.

Also unusual for me, I did a very dense background fill.  This was a calculated move so that the appliqued pots would have a tendency to "puff" out.  I could have done a faux trapunto effect for more puffiness, but I didn't.

The pots were done with needleturn applique and have hand-embroidered hanging strings and accents.

I'm rather pleased with the final effect.

Those pictures are just teasers! For all the gory details, links and lots more pictures, please visit my web page for the String of Pots quilt.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

A Christmas throw pillow

My last Christmas project for your consideration is a throw pillow.  I saw this pillow in a Crate-n-Barrel catalogue and shortly thereafter, I was able to see the actual pillow in the store.  The entire pillow was made from felt.  Whether it was wool felt or polyester, I don't know.  I made my version from polyester as wool felt is horrendously expensive.

The idea is pretty simple and very effective.  The tree is made up of circles.  Each circle is tacked in the center to the base fabric.  I'm not sure how packed or loose the Crate-n-Barrel pillow was made but I packed my circles pretty doggone tightly.

I don't know why I didn't put a piping around the edge, as I normally do with pillows.  Not only does it strengthen the seam but it makes the edge more defined.  ::shrug::

To make things REALLY easy, one of my crafting friends let me borrow her Sizzix Big Shot die cutter.  OH MY GOODNESS ... did that make the circle creation So Much Easier!!   You cut a strip of the felt, send it through the die cut machine and out the other side comes all these perfectly cut circles.  SO EASY!  :-)

For all the gory detail and another picture, please visit my web page for the Christmas throw pillow.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

a Practical Christmas tree

In 2004, our oldest daughter was in college.  She was lamenting the fact that she didn't have a Christmas tree in her apartment.   She hadn't purchased one and really didn't want to spend the money on one ... but she still missed having one.

So, we put our heads together and collaborated to find a solution.  We created a wonderful wall-hanging.  She drew the graphic (because I can barely draw a straight line with a ruler) and I did the sewing and quilting.

I even put buttonholes in the tree, so she could insert those teeny-tiny, miniscule Christmas tree lights from the back so that her tree could also have lights. :-)

This picture is the only one I have before she whisked it off, back to college.  I'll have to bug her about getting another picture for display. 

Although, I must admit that even though I didn't plan it (and the thought wouldn't have entered my head anyway), the sunlight coming in through the side window really makes it look wonderful. :-)

That picture is just a teaser! For all the gory details and more pictures, please visit my web page for the Practical Christmas tree quilt.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Looking for .... a quilt pattern.

*Somewhere* in my blog reader is a blog where, once upon a time, the quilter posted a  picture of an urban, modern, pieced (not appliqued) quilt.   It might have even been labeled as a "masculine" quilt.  It's definitely NOT traditional.  The background was a medium/dark gray and the stripes were white and orange.  Maybe a red one too.

I thought FOR SURE I had tagged the blog entry as a keeper.  I can't find it.

I thought FOR SURE I had kept a copy of the picture.  I can't find it.

I thought FOR SURE that if I just browsed through my blog subscriptions, I'd certainly find the blogger because the style is so unique.  I can't find it.

I thought FOR SURE that it would show up Pinterest.  I can't find it.

I thought FOR SURE that a Google/image search would find it.  Nope.

I am obviously NOT looking with the correct search terms.  ::sounds of aggravation::

But ... I *KNOW* the internet knows.  The best I can describe it is a bunch of wide, broad stripes that take a right angle but the right angle is not squared off .. it's *ROUNDED*.  Think of a schematic of pipes.  My (badly) drawn image at left is a *representative* of the general look-and-feel of the quilt I am looking for.

The quilter has written a book on these types of quilts.  Do you think I can remember the name of the book?  Of course not.  I'm fairly certain that it was done this year (2012) but the way my poor one brain cell is (not) working these days, I'd hate to say that was a firm date.

Sooooooo .... does anyone Out There recognize this general quilt design?    I'd deeply appreciate your suggestions, responses, guesses as a comment ... so everyone else can see what has already been suggested.

Thanks for your help.

Gone with the Wind ... finished!

oh, at long, long last, this top has been quilted, bound, laundered .... stick a fork in it cuz it's *DONE*!!  woooo hooo!  :-)

I pieced the top way in 2010 when the specially printed fabric came out.  (Subsequent fabric searches reveal that most of the fabric used for this pattern have been discontinued.  You may find bits and pieces being sold by private parties, but Quilting Treasures isn't printing it any longer).

I didn't particularly care for their pattern layout, so I changed it to suit my own tastes.  After the piecing was done, there it lay ... ageing ... sitting contently ... until I just couldn't stand having *all those tops* unquilted  (ummm .. 17 at last count).

I began to plot the quilting.  It wasn't as easy as other quilts.  There are some very awkward areas to deal with and I'm just not terribly clever when it comes to quilting designs.  I tend to think "inside the box" and have a difficult time stepping outside the lines.

I even remembered to use my embroidery machine to make a secondary label.  :-)

But, eventually, it all came together and now, it's done!  I feel such a sense of accomplishment!

Those pictures are just teasers! For all the gory details, links and more pictures, please visit my web page for the Gone with the Wind quilt.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Whimsey stick ribbon flowers

I don't watch Martha Pullen's show as much as I used to.  In fact, I hardly watch it at all these days, as I'm not sewing terminally cute little girl clothing nor am I doing much heirloom embroidery. 

However, I was surfing through the TV shows being aired recently and came across "Martha's Sewing Room" again.  I was finishing up a quilt and decided it would be a good background filler.

I was quickly sucked in when one of the segments featured Kari Mecca of "Kari Me Away" designs.  The segment featured how to make ribbon roses ... by sewing machine!

If you've ever tried to make ribbon roses the traditional way (folding, twisting, ad naseum), you'll know that such roses, while beautiful, are time-consuming and can be frustrating.  Kari has developed a technique to produce a similar looking rose in a much easier manner.

The episode featured is #3403,  titled "Whimsical Trims from a Stick" and was originally aired in 2011.  Kari's segment is 20 minutes in.  From 20 - 26 minutes is instruction on how to make a single loop flower; from 29 - 32 minutes is a demo on how to make the double loop trim and flower.  It is very, very easy!  Do a Google search on "whimsical trims from a stick" and you'll find lots of hits.  I couldn't find a site that would allow you to watch the episode for free.  You can, however, buy the episode.

Kari has also developed a tool she calls "Whimsy sticks" to help you make the flowers and trim.  But I don't have those specific sticks.  By watching her demo and seeing how it works, I determined that I could find some make-shift supplies and I did.

Her Whimsy sticks are acrylic bars, 1/2", 3/4", 1", 1-1/4" wide  and 17" long.  Well, I had some Celtic bias bars that would substitute.  I don't have the wider widths, but I do have a bar 1/2" wide.  I also had a clear ruler that was 2" wide.  I could, at the very least, experiment!

What I didn't have was the exact instructions of what width ribbon, how long to cut the ribbon and which width bar works with what width ribbon.  I imagine that information is included in the Whimsy stick packaging.  After all, why should she give away *all* the information?

From my ribbon stash, I picked out some 3/8" ribbon and used my 1/2" bar.  Following the Martha's Sewing Room demo, I made my own ribbon roses!  Dang, but they turned out so cute!

For the single-loop flowers:
You wrap the ribbon around the stick (tip from Kari: just hold the ribbon in one hand, secure one end of the ribbon at the top of the bar then turn THE BAR to wrap the ribbon around the bar.  That is much easier than physically wrapping *the ribbon*).  Then you secure the wraps with a strip of low-tack tape down the center of the wraps, on both sides of the stick.  She uses 1/4" Tiger Tape but I didn't have any of that.  What I did have was 1" low-tack blue painter's tape.  I simply cut 1/4" wide strips. 

Remove the tape at the top of the ribbon and slide the wrapped ribbon off the stick.  The low-tack tape will keep all the loops in place.  Then you edge-stitch very close to the fold of the ribbon.  Look closely at the picture on the left; at the bottom edge, you'll see a line of straight stitching (in white thread).  There is no stitching along the top edge.
Remove the low-tack tape. 

Voila .. a single loop strip!  Now, loosely wrap the strip around itself, while holding the base in your fingers.  Secure the base with some hand-stitches.  I backed my flowers with some leaves made with grosgrain ribbon, but you could just as easily put it on a pin-back or a button form or a circle of felt.

For double-loop flowers:
There is a very useful YouTube video from Kari to watch on this.    The basic technique is the same .. wrap a wider ribbon on a wider stick. (I used 1-1/2" ribbon with my 2" wide ruler.  I don't know what Kari used; she didn't say.) 

Instead of putting just one strip of low-tack tape down the center, you put *two* strips down the edges .. don't forget to tape each side of the stick! 

(oh a note ... this "silver" ribbon was originally a wired-edge ribbon. That won't work with this technique.  To use it, I simply removed the wire from the edge.  It slips out easily.)

Then, you stitch a line of straight stitches down the middle .. but slightly offset.  My ruler was 2" wide, so I stitched at 1-1/4" away from one side.

Remove the low-tack tape from one side of the ribbon and *fold* the ribbon on the line of stitching.  You will see two rows of loops, staggered.  Edge-stitch close to the fold, as with the single-loop flowers.

Now, make the flowers as before.  Since these flowers are bigger, Kari made a simple knot with a short length of ribbon as the center of the flower and wrapped the double-loop strip around it. 

Because I didn't have the specific information on exact ribbon width and stick width, my double-loop flower didn't turn out as loose as Kari's example. 

My result was a more tightly wrapped flower.  I think it still looks nice but it's not the same as Kari's.


You can also use the loop strips as trim.  Here I put a piping trim against the double-loop strip.  The blue fabric stands for the garment or sewn item.  I didn't have anything in mind when I made this trim, but wanted to "finish it off" to remind myself.  

I forget details so easily these days. :-)


These flowers are just terminally cute! 

Right now, I don't have a real purpose for them, but they sure do use up all those short lengths of ribbon that I just couldn't bear to throw away!  :-)

Saturday, December 01, 2012

a signature Christmas tree

Way back in 2001, I got a wild hair in my bonnet and thought it would be a terrific idea to have a wall-hanging for Christmas that had the autographs of all my family members, both my side and Mr. Pirate's side.

I found a fantastic pattern (still available, too!) and went to work.  I even managed to get *all* of the family members' signatures, which was not that easy since we don't regularly get together with Mr. Pirate's side of the family.

I did encounter a bit of High Drama when I discovered that I had royally misread the pattern and left out a piece.  Of course, this was after the entire top had been pieced and there was no more of the green fabric to make corrections.   Yes, I did think of a solution.  :-)

I finished the wall-hanging and found a place to display it for the holidays.  It was all good ... for a while.

Then, as families often do, the family expanded.  Members became married.  Babies were born.  And the way the Christmas tree is designed, it is impossible to add more ornaments to it.

But, oldest Dear Daughter came up with a very clever work-around .... all I need to do is create some "presents" to go under the tree!   Now I am on a Quest to find a good-looking present image that I can work a signature onto in such a way that subsequently added presents will also look nice.  (But first, I suppose I really ought to rummage around the storage shed and see if I can discover where I put the wall-hanging!  :-) )

That picture is just a teaser! For all the gory details, links and more pictures, please visit my web page for the signature Christmas tree wall-hanging.