Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Metal Baby

I love working with small quilts!  Once I figure out what I'm going to do with to quilt it!  Which as we all know is the one thing I have difficulty with.  Deciding how to quilt something.  

This little quilt was an experiment with colors and my Casual Link Block (Heavy Metal blog post).  

Because this was a small quilt, I knew I could go with with something a little more challenging. It would be easy to maneuver.   Twisting, turning and shoving wasn't going to be much of a problem.

Geometric.  Straight lines.  Thinking the logical choice to start was the center, I pulled out the Hera marker and my ruler.  With a semi-basic plan I picked points and connected the dots. Over and over again.  Did it need more, should I go here?  All done as I went.

My mom use to make paper boats and hats out of newspaper for my kids when they were little.  This section reminded me so much of her and transported me back in time!  I can't lie, it made me sad and homesick a little bit!

I really love how all the quilting turned out.  I wish I could do this on my large quilt, but I'm afraid I would go crazy!

I used coordinating thread on the blue and chartreuse sections, which especially show up on the back.

34 1/2" x 34 1/2"

I have to say I couldn't be more pleased with the quilting!!  Sometimes you just gotta go with it...color, fabric, quilting.  


Monday, October 5, 2015

A Personal Touch

After finishing my Polaroid Blocks for a swap, the next step was preparing for a send off! Each one was to be tucked into a greeting card and popped in the mail.  The problem there...I didn't have any greeting cards on hand.  They aren't something I have readily available at home. That meant I needed to buy 19, or channel my inner creativity and make my own.

For some reason I have stacks of blank envelopes.  I'm not sure where they all came from, but there they were sitting for years.  When I saw how many there actually were, I knew I needed to come up with a clever idea.  

Thinking...thinking...thinking!  Then I saw it!   A glint, a shine, a sparkle caught my eye! Metallic card stock!  (Which had also been sitting around for years.)  Fantastic!  

Now what?  A simple something.  Not a lot, just a personal touch along with the Polaroid Blocks.  Of course it would involve fabric...of course!  I came up with a banner with flags!  

First off, I needed to cut my card stock to greeting card size.  Easily done with a paper cutter.  

After folding each one, I found just the right size 'tool' to make a curve for my banner flags.  I used my Hera marker and a pan lid.  

This gave the perfect curve and perfect guide to hang the flags.  I thought if I had used a pencil or marker, it would show when I attached the flags.

Now for the flags.  I found that the tip of my diamond ruler worked pretty good for the size and shape.  Quite some time ago I started cutting my scraps in to 2", 2 1/2" and 5" squares. So I pulled out the tote and grabbed a stack of random prints. 

There is glue involved!  But not enough to make a sticky, icky mess on the fingers!

I put a dab of glue at the top of the flags to secure them to the curve of the banner line.  I don't want them shifting for the final step and thought glue was so much better than my finger holding them down.

The final step, sew the suckers down!  A simple line of thread through the sewing machine was the finishing touch!  The needle in my machine needed to be changed, but not until after I finished the cards.  

That's it!  Nothing to it!  I made enough for the swap blocks, but plan on making more to have on hand.  I sometimes need a simple 'Thank You' , or 'Thinking of You'...or 'Hey You' card!  

Last night I addressed each envelope and happily tucked each Polaroid Block inside the cards.  They may not be fancy or Hallmark worthy...but they were lovingly made to add a personal touch and maybe, just maybe put a smile on someones face!  

Have you made greeting cards before?  I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and what you did!


Friday, October 2, 2015

Snapshot ~ Polaroid Blocks

Good Old Instagram strikes again!  I guess I can officially say that I've done a swap (or two)! This swap is for those adorable Polaroid Blocks.  Blocks that I have wanted to make, but never quite got around to making.  

There are a million and one swaps out there.  This one appealed to me because it was just that:  blocks.  No bells, no whistles, no extras, no pressure.  Make a block and mail it in a greeting card.  Groups of twenty were put together, addresses's a go!  

The block itself is so simple!  Not to mention super fast, especially if you chain piece them.

Someone shared how they fussy cut their blocks for a Polaroid using a frame like this.  I thought it was a great idea and of course, had to make one myself!

And it worked perfectly!  

Here's a little tutorial for those of you (like me!) that have yet to make one!  Sew on each side, press seams away from the center block, sew on the top and bottom...Done! 

You can piece one block at a time or chain piece a zillion at a time!  I chain pieced over 25 blocks and it went really fast...really fast...did I mention how fast chain piecing was??!!

3 1/2" x 4" Polaroid Block
What took the longest time was picking out the fabric for the inside!  Do you know how many cute little snapshots there are on fabric?!  It was crazy fun!

Here are some of my favorites:

Love the little houses!

Be still my 'Heather Ross' Heart!  Your fabric is made for Polaroid's!!

I cannot wait to start getting blocks in the mail!  It'll be fun ripping open the envelope and seeing the surprise inside!

And what's better than a little 'Quilting Porn' centerfold shot of this stack?!  

I'm not sure what I'll make when this swap is finished.  

Have you made Polaroid blocks before and what did you make with them?  I'm looking for ideas!!  Help!!


Monday, September 28, 2015

I Am A Mini Mini Quilt

Hook, line and sinker!!  That's what happened when I read a blog post by Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl ~  Mini Mini Quilts.  Like her, I was intrigued and right away had to check out this swap on Instagram using the hashtag #miniminiquiltswap.  

And that's when the madness began!  When I saw the swap, I was piecing my Heavy Metal quilt together.  Since there were lot's of corners to cut off, I decided they may come in handy for a mini mini quilt.  Normally, they make it to the trash...this time I just couldn't!

You can't have a swap with out a partner however.  That isn't any fun!  Yvonne and Michelle are my partners and we soon conspired on color, style and inspiration.  Just to get the ball rolling.  

Beware...Mini Mini's can be addicting!

I believe I was looking for a distraction and these came at the right time.  If I can put off quilting a quilt...I will!

I started with Michelle's Mini.  I wondered how small a chevron could be without being stupid crazy about it.  I trimmed up my half square triangles at 1" (bigger isn't always better) thinking I would see what happens.  

It was a little tricky getting things to line up, but they turned out pretty darn cute!!  And pretty darn small!

They look a bit distorted around the edges in this picture.  I need to take care of that!

Adding borders gave the chevrons a nice frame.  Plus it helped to increase the size, just enough!    

4 1/4" x 4 1/4"
Now a side note.  As I was making this, and having a grand old time in the process, I showed my husband, my son, my daughter what I was doing.  After they called me crazy, each one of them said 'it's a coaster'!  To which I said 'the hell it is, it's a mini mini quilt'!!

My husband had to take it a step further by asking if I was a  'Coaster Poster'.  Yes dear, I'm posting on Instagram, my blog and I may even share them on Flickr!!  His sense of humor is endless...I just want to smack him!  

Let's move on!

This one will become a ROYGBIV rainbow for Yvonne.  These little squares are so, cute!  I couldn't help playing and pawing them!

I was plowing ahead, marveling at the madness and so glad I wasn't messing up quilting the Heavy Metal quilt!

I tried this with a border in dark blue, but wasn't feeling it at all.  Off with the border!  Leave it alone, it's plenty cute enough!

The back in pretty interesting, don't you think?!  

4" x 4"

I don't often bind such tiny pieces.  But it is a mini mini quilt after all.  The chevron mini has the regular method of binding.  

For the rainbow, I used a method I saw on Crazy Mom Quilts a while back and thought I would give it a try.  It was a little tricky for me, but it worked well.  

I have never machine stitched a binding on from beginning to end, and really didn't think a mini mini was the time to start learning (a big quilt would be a challenge for me).  I hand stitched them to the back.  I had to.  It's my thing!  They are so small it didn't take any time at all either!

I didn't do a lot of quilting on either of these, just enough to call them quilts!  Mini Mini Quilts! I think I need another partner...I got the sickness!  


Friday, September 25, 2015

Heavy Metal

So, today was all about experimenting.  Colors, fabric & design.  This design may look familiar to many of you.  I made an original block for Fabri-Quilt New Blog Block Hop, the tutorial for the block is here:  Casual Link

Top: 36" x 36"
I will admit that I love my block, when it is combined with other ones.  So excited in fact, that I had to make a quilt faster than a speeding bullet!  You can see a shot of it here:  Just The Basics Ma'am.  I have yet to finish it, by finish it I mean quilt it!  I'm waiting for an idea to hit me.  In the mean time I wanted to play with the design and see where I could take it.

The fabric I picked is Heavy Metal, a Windham Fabric.  I bought a fat quarter bundle in June, bound and determined to use some of it, any of it.  It has a little sparkle and shine with the metallic spots.  Gold, silver and bronze.  

The colors are gorgeous and picking just a few for this project was so hard!  I even asked my daughter to 'advise' me.  She wasn't much help except to say 'go with your gut mom'! No help at all!

This is kind of a tropical palette.  There are times when I want to go crazy and wild, pick an unexpected combination, live on the edge!  

This is my idea of living on the edge!  Hold me back!  The yellow-ish, green-ish, chartreuse-ish...that's wild!  This piece has been sitting on my shelf for a year.  One year!  I haven't a clue what it is exactly, I just know I love the color.

The project...oh yeah!  Colors picked, fabrics cut.  But wait, what was I thinking?  I had to do some fast thinking when I cut the white/grey color.  Remember I said I bought a FQ bundle? Not enough for four blocks!  I don't think you can tell where I pieced together the 2" squares, but I was short 2 of them.  At this point I'm thinking I'm screwed!  What was I thinking?!

Then I fiddled, scrimped, and finagled myself to finishing the four blocks.  Hindsight:  I would have used a solid that I had plenty on hand of.  

Once I added the borders, it not only framed the center well, but beefed up the size!  I was thinking it should become a baby quilt.

Looking back, there are a few things I would change or do differently.  Color placement for one.  I think using four colors for inside and four outside would be interesting.  I might even make the corners angled.  

Which leads to many more ideas!  That I like!  I enjoy taking a design, playing with it and changing it up. 

It was fun cutting in to fabric that would otherwise sit for far too many months.  And especially fun to use my block again.

When you work with a pattern, do you like to change it up and make it your own?  Or strictly stay inside the lines?  


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Illusion Number Two

I fell in love with my  Black + White = Illusion  quilt I made back in June.  It was a quilt I had pondered over for some time.  After finishing the first one, I was ready to put the black & white fabric away and start something not so eye crossing.  In the frenzy of moving on, I also put away my directions/measurements for the quilt.  You know, somewhere safe and secure.  It was so safe and secure that I couldn't find them!  After tearing apart my closet, looking here and there and finally giving up, it eventually turned up.  Why would I put it in the low volume tote is beyond me!  Found and secure...again!

51" x 75"

I made one little mistake during the piecing of the blocks.  Now I have a nice stack of poor little orphan blocks.  It didn't really make me mad, just slowed down the progress!

There are not any blocks with one square in them...hmmm...  

I was so excited seeing all the blocks I took this picture before realizing the mistake!  It is certainly better to catch it early!

Just putting the blocks on the design wall can be confusing!  I thought I had it too!  After sewing a few rows together I posted a picture on Instagram.  Turned out to be a good thing too!  Cynthia who blogs at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework, had a keen eye!  She pointed out what she thought was a misplace block...and she was right!  The block with the pink pin, yeah...wrong!  It was an easy fix (thankfully)!  Thank you so much Cynthia, you saved what could have been a disaster!

The first quilt had a beautiful aqua backing, so naturally I wanted something different for this one.  I went with black.  And white.  

I also decided I would quilt this one myself.  I loved the long arm design on the first quilt and thought I could do a variation of that with my machine.  I was worried it wouldn't be as effective, but it turned out great.  I was very pleased!

Kona Black & White Fabric
51" x 75"
Aurifil White Thread
Warm & Natural Batting
Machine Quilted