Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I-Spy Quilt Project: Part 4

This is the final part to my I-Spy quilt project. Here are final photos of my quilts. For the big border I decided against free motion quilting (due to technical issues) and instead did 3 wavy lines all the way around. It's almost like a huge frame. I love the finished quilts. They are in the wash and will be under the tree in time for Christmas! Feel free to ask any questions.
Alaina's finished quilt in blues and purples. I love the back. Aren't those the cutest owls ever!
Rachels' finished quilt in pinks and puurples. I love the floral and stripe on hers.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Being The Duck.....

My grandmother has a saying. "When you find yourself getting stressed or worried... Be a Duck. Let the water roll off your back and just keep swimming along." (not her exact quote, but it's the meaning) Today I found myself trying hard to be the duck.

As I was quilting my daughters I-Spy quilt my sewing machine broke. It just stopped completing it's full rotation. Almost like it was hitting or jamming on something metal. I got quotes to have it fixed/serviced. The cost of that is almost the cost of the whole machine. What's a girl to do? I have two quilts to finish before Christmas and 4 commissions lined up for after Christmas. Well... I got out my screwdrivers and took off the front panel of my machine. I was hoping to see a broken part or something glaringly wrong. Yeah.... not a chance. It looks perfect. I cleaned it up a bit and decided to work on my stack of Christmas cards. 3 hours later I took one more peak at the machine and gave the wheel one more turn.... and it turned! All the way around. It's sticking a bit on something, but now I'm thinking that a better cleaning and an oiling will do the trick. Hopefully my little Brother XR7700 will be running full speed by tomorrow. Otherwise this duck may get very soggy.
Bonus pic of beautiful Grammy cracking up on her 96th b-day.

I-Spy Quilt Project: Part 3

Part 3 of my quilt project has been a long time coming. I've gotten the quilts mostly done. Since Part 2 I have added the solid border around the quilt front, pieced together the quilt backings, and attached the back, batting, and front together. I'll break this down into sections....
The Solid Border: I cut 4" strips of fabric and sewed them together into one very very long strip. Then I just added it to the quilt. I used a mottled solid to balance out all the happy colors of the quilts. Purple for Ray's quilt and blue for Ali's quilt.
The Backing: I'll post better pics of the backing as soon as I can. The photos below are just small sections of the backings. I used 3 different fabrics for each of the backs. I wanted to backs to be just as pretty as the front. So... a very large patchwork... Below is my sketch of the backing so you can get an idea of what it looks like.
Putting It Together: So after the fronts and backs were done it was time to assemble the quilts. Now, I had originally intended to lay everything out, pin it all up, quilt it, and then bind the edges. But, time was an issue and I decided to go the "quick" route. I pinned the fronts and backs right sides together and then the batting on top of that. I sewed along the edge and left a large section open. Then I turned it all around. I then had sewed up the opening and began to quilt.

The Quilting: There are so many ways to quilt. I didn't want to tie the quilt, but I also don't have the time to do to much detail quilting. So I quilted along the edge and the along the inside ditch of the outside border. Then I did a large checkerboard inside the I-Spy part. For the middle border where all the large squares are I'm doing some free-motion squigly quilting. I'll get close ups of the quilting and finished photos for Part 4.

Friday, December 11, 2009

More Christmas Knitting

I finished up some more Christmas knitting over the last few days. I made some socks for my brother and another pair of fingerless gloves. I used this pattern on Ralvery for the gloves and I winged my own pattern for the basic worsted weight socks. Both items use the same Patons Tweeds wool yarn and the gloves have some of my handspun too.

Yummy Christmas Mint Fudge - With Recipe!

Today I did some Christmas baking and discovered a new recipe. When making fudge I always use Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme and I follow the directions on the back for their fudge. But, tonight I didn't have any evaporated milk and I wanted to try using dark chocolate chips. Below is my improvised recipe. It turned out sooooo yummy.

Use the Fantasy Fudge recipe over at Kraft, but make the following adjustments:

- Substitute the evaporated milk for 2/3 cup of coffee creamer (seriously! I used my french vanilla coffee creamer and it is sooo yummy. I would imagine that you could use any flavor and your fudge would come out with a hint of that flavor.)
- Substitute the Semi-Sweet Chocolate for a bag of Dark Chocolate Chips
- At this point I wanted to go with a mint fudge so I substituted the vanilla for 3/4 tsp of mint extract

Follow all the rest of the directions and you'll have some really good fudge. Happy Cooking!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Marisol The Mouse

Marisol the mouse caused quite a ruckus in the house the other day. I found the pattern here. I love love love FuzzyMittens patterns and this one is no exception. I knit this little cutie up as soon as I found the pattern. Both my daughters fell in love with it and asked for some of their own. Even my hubby thinks she is way to cute. Much cuter than the photo shows. I have a feeling that pretty soon little Marisol will have a huge mousie family.

I-Spy Quilt Project: Part 2

Yesterday was another good day of sewing. Although I did very much notice that my calculations were off for the border pieces. They are suposed to be 8" squares not 7" squares. I've made that change on the cutting list on Part 1 of the I-Spy Project. Needless to say... I had cut all my border squares at 7" already. Hmmm... I wasn't about to re-cut all the squares so I decided to make my center square on the sides longer and then add a a small piece on the top and bottom corners to make up the difference. Nothing lines up right with the squares from the center I-Spy part and the border like I had planned. But, I'm still very very pleased with how it's turning out. It has a very homey, colorful, happiness about it. Next will be the outside border on this quilt and the then I have to put both borders on the other quilt. The one pictured is for my youngest, Rachel. She loves pinks and purples so her border colors go with that. And, her backing is also in purples. Alaina's quilt will have blue and purples as the borders and backing.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I-Spy Quilt Project: Part 1

I-Spy has always been popular around our house. So, this year I decided to make my girls I-Spy quilts for Christmas. I couldn't find a pattern I liked so I decided to make my own. I wanted to keep the quilts very simple with bigger squares so they would go together fast. I wanted the size of the quilts to be smaller than a twin but larger than a throw. I'll be posting my progress of these quilts as I go with basic instructions as to how I'm doing it.
Here is my basic computer sketch of what the quilts will look like when they are done. (the colors are frightening... but you can get the general idea) Each square is a 3.5" finished size. The quilt has 10 rows of 15 squares for the center I-Spy part. The border around that will have blue and purple simple print fabrics for one quilt and the other will have purple and pink simple print fabrics. Then around that will be a plain border to finish it all off. The gray center border rectangles are undecided at the moment. I'm thinking of using either a solid fabric and then applique' on my girls initials... Or maybe using the backing fabric there... not sure yet. The backing will be flannels and I'm planning on quilting in the ditch.

Finished Quilt Size will be roughly: 56" x 73.5"

Material and Cut Lists
150 - 4" I-Spy Squares - You can find precut I-Spy squares on Etsy and Ebay
26 - 8" Border Squares - for these I used simple prints and batiks
2 - 7 x 10.5" Center Border Squares
Enough fabric to border it if you choose to do so. I'm planning a 3.5" finished border.... So I'll cut 4" strips.
Backing - I bought 4 yards of 45" wide flannel for the backing. And another 1.5 yards in a co-ordinating color to use as binding or contrast on the back. I'm thinking that I will have a yard or so leftover. Again... I'm not a quilter so you may want to do some math to make sure your getting the right amount of fabric.

Yesterday I got started with the sewing of the quilt. I was able to finish both of the quilts center I-Spy sections. Above is one of the centers... I think this one is for my youngest. Most of the squares are the same for each of the girls quilts. But, I tried to find a few that were different and specific to each girl. My mom helped with all the pressing and pinning yesterday... that was a huge help. Today we'll be doing the large block border and hopefully the small solid border too.

*An I-Spy quilt (for those of you who haven't heard of one) is a quilt with fussy cut squares that are all different. Ie: a cat, a dog, popcorn, footballs, books, flowers, bugs, etc. I'm hoping to have hours of fun with my girls searching for items in their quilts. Fun Fun Fun!!!