Monday, November 21, 2016

Fraternal Twins

...the quilt version.
What quilts would you make for your friend if they were having twins? What quilts would you make for your friend if those twins arrived nearly two months early? My sweet friend and fellow Stash Sewciety Bee mate, Carlie, told me months ago she was having twins...a boy and a girl. I thought I had so much time but then sweet Tucker and sweet Lucy arrived in mid-October. I wanted to finish a few  other commitments before deciding what to make for the twins.

I stumbled across a photo on Pinterest. It was an easy strip quilt made for twins. Unfortunately, when I clicked on the photo it was a dead end, but I knew they would be easy to recreate. They were super easy and I was able to make both quilts in two days. A few more evenings of hand stitching the bindings down and I had the gifts finished in a flash.

I used the stitch and flip method to make both quilts. I made the pink one first and realized too late that I should have started on one end, not in the middle; that is why the blue quilt is one strip longer than the pink one. Don't tell Lucy, hopefully she'll never know that her quilt is a little short. To secure the batting vertically, I quilted straight lines every 4.5", from top to bottom.

Once again I used my favorite black and white stripe for the binding. This one is by Lecien. I don't think it is available any more but Timeless Treasures still carries a great mini black and white stripe.
These quilts don't look crinkled but instead look wrinkled. I think that's because they are not quilted with super dense rows of stitching.

As of this writing the babies are still in the NICU but will be coming home soon. Hopefully the quilts will arrive in time to welcome them home.

Quilt Stats: 
Quilt Name: Lucy and Tucker
Fabric Used: Kona Cotton Solids in Peacock, Melon and Iron
                     Michael Miller Cotton Couture Bright White
Batting: Warm and White
Thread: Pieced with Aurifil 50 wt.
Quilted by ME with Connecting Threads Essential 40 wt. Thread
Binding: Lecien mini black and white stripe
Finished size: Lucy 41.5" x 43"   Tucker 40.5" x 47"

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cargo (Chemo) Duffle

Readers of this blog know that my sister was diagnosed with Uterine cancer in September, just a few days after my mom died. Geri had a hysterectomy a few weeks ago and when the pathology report came back she didn't have uterine cancer, but had ovarian cancer! At first we were super freaked out because reports of surviving ovarian cancer are few and far between. But my sister is an exception. She is Stage 2. Most people when diagnosed are stage 3 or 4. The doctor expects her to make a complete recovery and live a very long life.

She starts chemo tomorrow and weeks ago asked me if I would make her a chemo bag. When I got home from vacation, I had a few commitments to complete first, but started on Anna NoodleHead's Cargo Duffle bag last week. The pattern is available for free on the Robert Kaufman website. I used Art Gallery Fabric Denim and Carkai by Carolyn Friedlander prints for the pockets, trim and gusset.

I've made lots of bags and feel I am a confident bag maker. This bag requires that you know what you're doing, but it is not difficult. I knew I didn't want to use the canvas on the inside because I planned to line the bag. I also assumed using by Annie's Soft and Stable would make a nice stiff bag that would stand on it's own. I also didn't want to quilt the entire bag. I chose to quilt the zipper gusset and the bottom gusset.

Geri wanted lots of pockets, so I added one to the backside of the bag and several inside the bag. After I completed the outside portion of the bag I realized it was still a little floppy.

I interfaced the lining with Pellon 808 fusible interfacing and I added Peltex to the bottom gusset of the lining. I wanted to make the lining in a lighter color because it's way easier to find things in a bag with lighter colored lining. This newsprint from Carrie Bloomston is fun and that word, BLESSINGS, is perfect. Since her diagnosis, my sister has been blessed many times over by good news and loving acts of kindness from old and new friends.

The inside zipper pocket is finished with a facing to make it easier to see. It's a big, roomy pocket.

One little pocket on the inside gusset panel is perfect to put in a cell phone or chap stick.

The last pocket is an elastic topped pocket that is good for holding a bottle of water.

I added a few extras that I found are essential to chemo patients, by searching Pinterest. Geri will add a squishy, comfy blanket, water bottle, her iPad and other things she thinks she might need on this journey.

Geri stopped by this morning to pick up the bag. She let me know she was really happy with it and thinks it will be perfect now for transporting her "stuff" to chemo and then it will make a great carry on bag after chemo is just a memory. 

Here is a list of changes I made to the bag:
  1. I made the bag 4" wider.
  2. I used by Annie's Soft and Stable instead of batting and the canvas inside.
  3. I added a small, patch pocket to the backside of the bag.
  4. I added a 2" decorative section to the gusset, below the zipper ends.
  5. I only quilted the zipper gusset and bottom gusset portion of the bag.
  6. I made the handles 2" longer and used 2" wide Craftex, instead of batting in the handles.
  7. I lined the bag, duplicating the front, back, bottom gusset and zipper gusset pieces. I interfaced these pieces with Pellon 808 and also added Peltex to the bottom gusset section. Iadded three different style pockets to the lining. I assembled the lining then placed it inside the bag and attached it by hand along the inside of the zipper gusset. Because it was interfaced and had the Peltex it doesn't sag and did not need to be attached in the corners like others have said when lining their bags. 


Sunday, November 6, 2016

MCM Baby Quilt

I made a Mid-Century Modern inspired baby quilt for our son and daughter-in-law and gave it to them at the baby shower I had for them this weekend. I've known I wanted to make them a quilt since we heard the news they were expecting, but it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I finally decided on a pattern and ordered the solids in the colors of the era. Olive, Gold, Chocolate, Apricot, Lime, Aqua, Lagoon, Fog and Teal were the colors that I settled on through my Pinterest search. I ordered all Michael Miller Cotton Couture solids because I have had great luck with them and I love the slight sheen they give off. I used Bright White from the collection, as well.

I found this tutorial on Pinterest for making the blocks. I made a few changes to the pattern. 
1. I made 8" finished blocks instead of 6".
2. To conserve fabric I cut my colored pieces of fabric into 4" x 10" rectangles and then cut those into half-rectangle triangles. 
3. I sewed the bias side of the pieces cut to the white fabric so that I would not have a bias on the outside of each square.
This allowed for less trimming and thus less fabric waste, as well.

This quilt is paper pieced and although it takes longer to prep, it comes together quickly. I also got out a lot of my pent up aggressions when ripping out the paper pieces. Ripping out paper pieces has become so much easier since I switched to using vellum paper instead of copy paper. For each rip, rip, rip I imagined cancer cells being obliterated from my sister's body. It really was a satisfying hour.

When it came time to quilt this piece I knew I wanted to do a fairly dense quilting of straight lines on the white pieces and none on the colored "boomerang" pieces, hoping to make them pop. I decided, once again, to put on my big girl panties and use my BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulating) foot and attempt to quilt straight lines. Curves are so much easier to quilt with this foot, but I wanted straight lines and I did not want the hassle of wrestling the quilt through the machine if I used the walking foot. It's not perfect, but I have adopted the motto that "Done is better than perfect"!

The backing needed to be something from stash, because I did not have time to order anything. This black and white word print seemed fun. Kyle and Briana have not decided on a name for this baby boy yet, but they have assured us it will be unusual, so I thought maybe they could close their eyes and point a finger to one of these random words. How does Curacao Stanley sound? Or  maybe Taupe Stanley? Whatever they name this little one, he is sure to be loved.

My go to binding these days, influenced by Rita at Red Pepper Quilts, is the narrow black and white stripe. It doesn't compete with the quilt but yet frames it so well.

The baby shower was a fun afternoon with family and friends. Now we'll have to wait about 12 more weeks before we get to see a baby on this quilt. Meanwhile, Briana will have fun folding and refolding all the tiny clothes, sleepers and blankets that she received this weekend. I remember those days of nesting, even though they were so long ago.

Quilt Stats:
Name: MCM Baby Quilt
Fabric used: Michael Miller Cotton Couture Solids in Olive, Gold, Chocolate, Apricot, Lime, Aqua, Lagoon, Fog, Teal and Bright White.
Backing Fabric:Wyndham 108" Quilt Back by Whistler Studios
Binding Fabric: Timeless Treasure narrow stripe in Black and White
Thread: pieced with Aurifil 50 wt. white
Batting: Warm and White
Quilted: by ME on  my Bernina 820 using Connecting Threads Essential cotton thread, 40 wt. white
Finished Size after Laundering: 62" x 62"


Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Fall Y'All

We are well into the fall season...everybody's favorite season. I wish it could be fall all year long. In Southern California, since the days are shorter, it feels cooler even though we are still experiencing 80'F days. Most nights I can cozy up with a quilt.
This fall quilt started as a kit I bought many years ago when my taste in quilts was quite different. It was a strip quilt with appliquéd pumpkins and such on it. I decided to just make a log cabin quilt. I added some more current fabrics to it and I must say they really helped make it look more modern.

I wanted to take the quilt to the pumpkin patch to photograph it but don't you know it rained this week and it was far too muddy to risk a visit. So Mr. Romance and I did the next best thing; we took it to the grocery store and photographed it in front of their pumpkin display.

For the backing I found this great Lost and Found Halloween newsprint fabric by Riley Blake. I didn't order quite enough so I used a little of the leftover fabrics from the front to piece the panel together for the backing.

When it came time to quilt this one I knew I wanted to quilt it with spider webs. I just wish I would have done more research on quilting spiderwebs, because I didn't make them dense enough. I'll know better next time, providing there will be another opportunity to quilt with spiderwebs.

I had this perfect variegated thread to use for quilting. 

I think my favorite part of this quilt is the striped black and white binding because it reminds me of the stockings I have seen worn by witches in movies and cartoons.

Quilts Stats:
Quilt Name: Happy Fall
Pattern: Log Cabin Blocks
Fabrics: A kit purchased years ago with a few added prints and solids from stash.
Batting: Warm and White Cotton Batting
Backing: Lost and Found Halloween Newsprint by Riley Blake
Binding: Timeless Treasures Black and White Stripe
Thread: Pieced with Aurifil 50 wt.
Quilting done by ME using Superior King Tut 40 wt. variegated thread #941
Size: 55" x 69"
A finish on my 4th quarter Finish Along

2016 FAL

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


If any of my readers have ever had open abdominal surgery they will understand the importance of these words, Cough*Sneeze*Laugh! I'm sure they are associated with the pain and discomfort you experienced when you did any of these normal everyday occurrences during your recovery period. 
My sister had surgery a few days ago as the beginning of her treatment for uterine cancer. She had a full hysterectomy and the surgery was done as an open surgery so the doctor could check all her surrounding organs for any signs of cancer. I am happy to report that he did not see any other cancer when he had her opened up. Now we wait to get the full pathology report, next week.

I wasn't going to make her anything right now, but 24 hours before her surgery I got an idea and went about creating it like a mad woman! I wanted to make her a pillow to hold when she coughs, sneezes or laughs because I was told from other friends who had surgeries in the past that holding a pillow to the abdomen helps so much with the discomfort associated with doing these things. I also decided that a circle of flying geese would remind her that she has lots of friends and family circling her with love, prayers and positivity as she faces the coming weeks and months in her battle to F*%K Cancer! I found this paper pieced pattern on Pinterest. It was supposed to finish at 6" but I enlarged it a bit so it finished at 7.5". I made 4, then used the piecelique method to attach the geese arcs to one piece of fabric, so there would be no seams in the center circle or the background fabric.

I was recently made aware of the fact that the color associated with the fight against uterine cancer is orange, so orange it would be. It's a good thing I am not lacking in orange fabrics. I would say orange is one of my favorite colors and I have a lot of orange fabrics to choose from.

For the words, I wrote them in Photoshop Elements, found a good script font and then flipped it horizontally, so the words were on the paper backwards. Then I printed the document onto a sheet of Steam a Seam, Lite, fused it to an orange fabric and cut it out. Then I zigzag stitched around the letters. I wish I knew how to use the embroidery feature of my Bernina 820, but I have no clue how to use. I still need to take that class. 
Because I was running out of time, I quilted it with a grid.using Aurifil white 50 wt. thread.

For the backing fabric, I had a few pieces of Tula Pink's Free Fall left over from a quilt backing. None of them were wide enough so I had to piece the back and place the zipper across the back of the pillow. I did a flap cover on the zipper. Even though I didn't have enough to match the dots, I'm still happy with the backing, because it is the perfect color and the bird symbolizes flight, and freedom and peace to me.

I started with white fabrics with orange print and then gradually built on the color going from light orange to dark orange. 
I was leaving to go to the hospital at 2:30 in the afternoon, and I finished the pillow at 2:10! It turns out I didn't need to hurry because Geri was not up to seeing visitors after surgery.  I stayed away one more day to let her rest. Today I got to see her and I gave her the pillow and she loved it!

The pillow fits a 20" pillow form. I must get to IKEA and buy more of their super squishy pillow forms. I took this one out of a pillow I had in my house.