Wednesday, January 4, 2012

No Excuses

This is my challenge to you this year for quilting....follow this blog:

She is doing a quilt-along about free-motion quilting and everyone can learn it.  Do it.  Go read it now.  ;) k.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Korea friendship quilt

Hi ladies.  Here is my Korea quilt/wall hanging.  Thank you to all of you who contributed.  I like having a memento of Korea and you wonderful ladies to look at.  Happy Black Friday.  Karen

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Great Ugly Fabric Challenge of 2011

What a great challenge! Everyone came up with fun and imaginative ideas for how to use their ugly fabric. Now you get the chance to vote - choose the one that you think used their ugly fabric the best! To vote, you can either leave a comment for this post, or leave a comment on the post I will put on the RS facebook page. The winner will receive a pair of really nice fabric scissors. But really, we're all winners, right?;) Good job ladies! Here are the contestants, in no particular order.

Let's start with what was chosen us the winner for the ugliest fabric, and was randomly drawn by Miss Kimberly

Yeah, that's just ugly no matter how you look at it. And here's what she created!

She used a stack-and-whack technique, creating these amazing kaleidoscope-like flowers.

She's going to finish off the edges with a double piping, and make it into a prayer rug/mat.

And here's the fabric Miss Nicole chose.

Wow, what an unfortunate color combination. What were they thinking. Nicole came through with this cute potholder.

By matching the ugly fabric with a cute coordinating green fabric, she created something that actually works. It makes me feel Irish....and I'm not even Irish!;)

Nicole brought the potholder unfinished, and used it to help teach us how to bind at our last meeting. Thanks Nicole!

Next up is Miss Ruth and her ugly fabric.

What the what? This ugly fabric had her stumped about what to make for a long time. She finally gathered together a bunch of fall-inspired scraps of fabric and made this.

She finished off the edge of this tablerunner with a green ribbon, which really brought it all together.

We're all military spouses, so it's only fitting that someone get this ugly fabric, and that someone was Miss Elizabeth.

Oh, it's just so manly and ugly, what will she make? How about a completely un-manly, and adorable stuffed lamb?

I'm envisioning a whole nativity set made out of that - how about it Elizabeth?;)

And now, for what we refer to as the "naughty" fabric, chosen by Miss Becky.

We're thinking she's going to really have to cut that up into small pieces to hide the ladies. But no - Becky decides to make shorts for Kyler instead, to torment her mother, hahahahahaha!

Oh Becky, you are so brave and hilarious.

Last, but not least, Miss Joanna chose this lovely piece of ugly fabric.

Then Joanna surprised us all by asking Becky for a small piece of the "naughty" fabric. She said she had an idea, and we were intrigued. This was what she made using both of her ugly fabrics.

For this potholder, the "naughty" fabric is on the bottom, and she actually made her own chanelle with the cactus fabric.

Very cool! Great job everyone - I hope you enjoyed this challenge as much as I did. Now vote!:)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder...

but you may want to avert your eyes! heheh

Last month we challenged everyone to bring a piece of ugly fabric for a sort of White Elephant draw.  Everyone drew a piece and now the challenge for next month is to make something fabulous with that ugly ugly piece.

We had a vote, and this is the "winning" piece.  It was purpose bought so it had the advantage over others that were coming from stash.  Elizabeth still deserves honor for locating this piece.  The more I look at it the more I have to agree that it is...well, ugly.  As perhaps you may have guessed, I was indeed the one to draw the winner for my November project.

I jokingly said that I would make an article of clothing out of it and wear it in public even, but I realized that I really should do a quilting project.  But never fear, the ideas are already brewing.  Of course maybe they aren't good ideas (I mean, who designed this?!?  It is worse in person.) but they are brewing.  Check it out.  I even have a palette going....

I live in full expectation that EVERYONE will post the fabric they drew and what they make with it for this month.  (yeah, well....)

At any rate, good luck to us all and may the best competitor win.  (The prize is a lovely new pair of scissors that have never been handled by toddlers nor ever cut paper...or upholstery for that matter!) k.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Continuous Binding

Here is the second part to the continuous binding. This is the one that I had to watch while I was cutting, to make sure I was cutting it right. I love that you only have to sew 4 long straight lines!

Making a continuous binding

I was trying to find a technique to show everyone at our meeting and found this. There is a second part, which I will post next. It is fairly simple and straight forward. I have been thinking about my Korean quilt - how to lay it out, sash is, and bind it. I have never made bias tape/binding before and wanted to learn how. I used a piece of material, that after being sewn together was 22 inches square. After cutting it out and measuring it, it was 7.5 yards of bias tape. It's hard to believe that 44 square inches of material will make that much bias tape, but it does! It only took me about 45 minutes to make it, and that was with having to rewind the tutorial to make sure I was doing it right. So if you read this before Monday and want to try it with me, just bring your material already sewn together into a square or rectangle.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Picture Piecing Technique

Since we only have 13 blocks for our Korean Friendship Quilt, I decided to try this to even things up.

This is a design by Cynthia England that Kimberly had. It is a picture piecing technique. It seemed a bit daunting at first, but once I started doing it, I quickly realized how EASY this is. It is kind of tedious (like the hexagons), and takes a lot of time, but it's doable. Kimberly asked me if I would try this again, and I said maybe, if I was really motivated and excited by a design, but I wouldn't do anything bigger than this size. However, some of you might find it more enjoyable, and I admit, I did get really excited about my finished project:)

So, the pattern is printed on wax paper. You cut out the pieces, iron them on to the right side of the color of fabric you want, and cut them out leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

As you can see, some of the pieces are super small, and Nicole F. asked if that made it difficult to sew them. No - with the seam allowance, they are just big enough that it isn't a problem.

As you are cutting out pieces, you need to be VERY organized. The pattern is arranged in groupings, lettered A-O. Each of the groups need to be kept separate, and so I kept them all in individual ziplock baggies.

Now you start the sewing process. Start with group A. Each piece is numbered, 1,2,3...which indicates in which order you sew them together. Sometimes there are groups of pieces within the group (indicated on the pattern with a dotted line). For example, in the picture below I sewed pieces 1 and 2 together. Next, I would normally sew number 3 on, but in this case it was in a separate group. 3, 4 and 5 were in the same group, so I sewed those together in order, and THEN I could sew that group to the 1 and 2 group. Does that make sense.

As you can see, you leave the wax paper on as you continue to sew. If you are more of a perfectionist than I, you can adjust the wax paper as you go along - if you sewed pieces together and you were a little off from the edge of the paper, you can pull off the paper piece and re-iron it on closer to the seam you made.

As you continue to piece everything together, the picture begins to emerge. Here was my finished project (minus the butterfly body)

I had to make a few changes, because the pattern makes a 12x12 block, and that was bigger than what I needed. You can see that my side borders are thinner, and I actually cut off quite a bit of the blue from the bottom, and I didn't piece the butterfly into the pattern, but appliqued it on afterwards, and it was a smaller butterfly too. I was really happy with the results, and I'm glad I did it. Kimberly said she is going to try this pattern this summer.

If you like the look of these, then don't be afraid to give it a try. I know my instructions aren't the best, but you can actually watch videos of the process here. Also Cynthia England has these two free patterns on her website (click on either image to go to the pattern).

You can see her other patterns here. Some are for full quilts, and some for blocks. Do you see the old-time sewing machine one under her nostalgia series? I LOVE that one (it reminds me of my Grandmother's vintage sewing machine, which I learned to sew on), but it is a quilt-size, and an advanced level pattern. If I am completely insane some day, I will buy that pattern and attempt to do it;)

As for the friendship quilt challenge, now that most of us have all our blocks, we seem to be a little stuck. Kudos to Darsha for being the first one to complete this challenge - I guess you had to, seeing that it was your challenge;) We all love the look of Darsha's quilt, with the frames around each block, and have wondered if we will just copy her;) I googled images of friendship quilts, and her are some interesting ways you could do it.

Okay, that last one is actually a bulletin board, but I was trying to find a picture of a checkerboard style quilt, so whatever:) Also, Kimberly talked about doing a wall hanging rather than a quilt, finishing each block separately, and then hanging them down a chain or ribbon. I was thinking of doing a wall hanging too, 2 blocks across and 7 down, which would be a good size to hang on a door. Here are some other wall hanging ideas.

I can't wait to see everyone's finished projects!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I'm done

My last post was about not finishing things, so this post will be about finishing things. Que the epic music.....I FINISHED MY QUILT!!! Question: What is mind-numbingly boring and extremely exciting at the same time? Answer: hand stitching the binding to a quilt. But I did it, and the crazy thing is, I want to make another one:) So, here is the finished product.

It wasn't on my bed in time for winter like I had wanted, but I'm still very happy to have it done. I have a brown bedskirt that will look nice with this and cover up the boxspring. Throw pillows?-I put them on there to take the picture, I'm not a huge fan of the backing I used, but I LOVE the little daisy print I found for the binding.

The only drawback was that I didn't find it sooner - I would have loved to incorporate it into the quilt blocks, and I probably would have used it for the backing as well. But I did make some pillow cases to match.

Another thing I finished today was a couple of Christmas pot holders. Remember when we cut out the pieces with the kids? Cora sewed the top of the left one, and I did the right one and then finished them both.

And finally, a while back I finished and framed our very first hand-stitching project.

It is now hanging in my sewing room:)

Next up - Korean Friendship Quilt?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Some Great Easy Projects....and I do mean that!

I was just cruising my usual sewing and quilting blogs and I saw a reference to this website:

She has some great projects that are scrap/stash/beginner friendly.  I have printed out some of the patterns, but go check out the list on the right side (down towards the bottom.)  Especially Strip Twist (which I love) and Simply Strippy.  With the Accuquilt and some motivated ladies I bet we could really get some work done! k.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sew Many Memories

Here is my finished Korean Quilt. I am happy with it and so glad that it is done. I hate having unfinished projects.
Korea is already feeling like a distant memory so I will cherish this always. Many thanks to all of you who stuck through with the whole process even though at times it was a little painful.

I can't wait to see what you all did. Mine is a boring. I played it safe like always.
What can I say. I am simple.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Humanitarian Super Monday

Reporting that 60 kids t-shirts have been acquired....I don't know that we will get that many done but wouldn't THAT be great.  (We are using these as the "base" for play dresses, which is one of the categories for donation to LDS Humanitarian Aid.)  They are white, so fun prints with white in them might be best.  Sizes from 2-14 I think. hehehe. k.

Monday, March 21, 2011


So we actually had a meeting, which is something for this time of year.  We decided that ALL who are in town (not just group members) should come to a Super Monday on the 11th of April (Spring Break for SAES etc) and have a grand sewing day for Humanitarian projects.  We will have a variety of sewing based activities and for people not so inclined, we will also need some vigilante adults to watch kids. heh

I think we will try to do School Bags, Play Dresses, some kind of easy quilt blocks and maybe pillowcases.  Any other suggestions?  People should plan to bring fabric (or a little cash to help.)  ALL projects require only straight stitching and will also have non-sewing aspects for those of you who are afraid of the terrible beast, your sewing machine!

More details forth-coming. k.

Weekend Baby Quilt

When I sew, I normally set up my machine on the kitchen table and take up more than half the table with all my stuff. So when the machine gets put away and the table is actually clean (which, let's face it, even when the sewing machine isn't there, the table is still a mess), I usually don't break out the machine for awhile. But last weekend, I wanted to sew so out came the machine and the subsequent mess. Of course, I was supposed to sew my sloper dress shell and skirt for the Sewing group but I decided to work on a baby quilt for my sister, who is expecting a boy in May.

I turned to my fabric stash and Oh, Fransson!, my favorite site for quilting inspiration for a quick project. She does beautiful, modern quilts and I just bought her book because I love her stuff so much. I really wanted to showcase the fun car fabric I bought awhile ago and I loved the punch of color and contrast the panel of blocks provided. I cut out pieces on Friday, sewed all day Saturday and Sunday and bound the quilt on Monday. (Which shows me that it doesn't take a year to make a quilt, like my last baby quilt took me....) Here's the finished product:

I also wanted to practice free-motion sewing. Luckily, this fabric has a pattern built right into it, and I quilted along the road. Unfortunately, my free-motion quilting (with the feed dogs covered) didn't go so well, so I reverted back to the feed dogs, but I think if I buy the right foot for my machine, it'll go much easier with practice.

The binding was a pain but I think with more practice, I'll get much better at it. I machine sewed the entire binding, and I think in the future, I'll hand sew it which will leave me with better results. But, this is only the second time I've bound a project this way and I can already tell I've improved. Luckily, my sister-in-law is pregnant and I'm planning on making her a baby quilt as well so I'll get more practice soon.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Log Cabins

After our meeting I decided I had better go actually USE some of the fabric I have been hoarding.  Strictly speaking, what I did is NOT  log cabin as my colors go all the way around the square, but check out the top  made the other day: k's boxpleat blog

In other news, the meeting falls firmly on another day off school again this month.  (Remember how we got our "Cursed Quilt" name?!?  sigh!)  Taking nominations for a better choice of day..... k.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Finished Baby Quilt.....FINALLY!

In what is surely a sign of the Apocalypse, I finally, finally, FINALLY finished this quilt.

Are you as amazed as I am? You really should be.

Here's the front in all its red, white, and blue glory.

And here's the back. I've been debating about whether or not I wanted to quilt the stars around the border, but I thought that was maybe a little bit too ambitious and then the quilt really would never get done. So after nearly a year of planning, prepping, sewing, and stewing, I'm declaring this quilt officially done.

David has been after me for many many months to finish the quilt. But, as with any large quilting project, I grew really sick of looking at the dang thing. I didn't love the fabrics anymore, I made too many mistakes. There were things about it I wanted to change but just couldn't. I wasn't sure how I wanted to bind it and I had had one too many fights with my sewing machine over quilting the center squares. So it sat in my tub of fabrics for many months, imcomplete and untouched while I had a baby and pursued other sewing projects.

But since my goal for 2011 was to set aside time every week for sewing, I knew I couldn't start a whole bunch of new projects (of which I have many ideas) before I finished the ones I'd already started. And since I like to make arbitary schedules for myself, I decided that Sunday would be my sewing day. With David off at work and a moderately well-behaved baby playing on her mat, I set to work this past Sunday binding the quilt. I was so energized by that successful endeavor, that I spent the majority of Monday morning finishing the actual quilting of the blocks. I got into a good groove, and before I knew it, I'd finally accomplished what had been eluding me for months.

And what once filled me with disgust, now fills me with profound joy. I finished something. Sure, there are things I still don't love about the quilt, there are things I wish I had done differently, but ultimately, now that the finished product is in front of me, I can't help but marvel at what I created. There is real joy in the process of creating--and finishing--something to be used and loved by my family.

A few things I learned along the way:

- Be patient. I often wanted to cut corners or speed through certain steps and would then be disappointed by my less-than-perfect output. When I actually slowed down, and took my time, my results were always better.

- Don't worry about perfection. I am a classic perfectionist and it is often difficult for me to accept results that are less than stellar. But now I look at my quilt and all its tiny flaws, and enjoy them because they were my mistakes and no one else's. Meaning, I made this quilt; I didn't buy some mass-produced product. And so every flaw is a testament to my work and effort and I can see very clearly how I improved as I went along.

- Plan ahead and visualize the finished project but don't get so caught up in that vision that you can't accept when changes must be made. The finished project will always be different than you imagined, but no less amazing once it's complete.

- It's okay to walk away when you are frustrated. You won't hurt the quilt's feelings.

- Use fabric that you love. Even if you love it when you start it, you'll find yourself hating it while you're making the quilt but when it's done, you'll love them all over again. But the fabrics I only moderately liked still have not grown on me. And now I will forever have to look at them and wish I'd picked something different.

- And always remember: the intended recieptent is going to love it, no matter what.