Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cranberry and Pineapple Crochet Shawl

I had a totally different post planned for this week, but I really needed to share this finish with you all before the end of the month because I'm participating in the HO HO HO and on we sew link party as a way to get motivate on my Christmas and Hanukkah gifts a little bit all year instead of freaking out in Autumn because I haven't gotten anything done.

Every month on the 18th, Mud, Pies, and pins will be hosting a link party where we can showcase our work and get inspiration from each other and the variety of guest hosts that they have lined up.  I'm really excited to have been asked to host in April, and I can't wait to see all the different projects the the other hosts have lined up.


For January, I finished this cranberry colored pineapple shawl for a lucky family member (who shall not be named just in case).  The pattern is named, Sidewalk Shawl, and you can download the instructions for free from Red Heart. The shawl might look a bit big, but when you drape it over your shoulders in really looks quite nice and can be worn with jeans or with something much dressier.

Sorry that my pictures are a little off for this project, but for some reason the pattern and color of this shawl made it extremely hard to get any good quality shots.  Plus, in none of these pictures do you see a sock on my floor.  There is no sock on the floor; it's just a optical illusion :)


The pineapple repeat was surprisingly easy to crochet once I got the basic pattern down.  I used 3 skeins of a worsted weight yarn aptly named "I love this yarn" in cranberry.  It's acrylic, but it's super soft and wears very well.  It's one of my favorite acrylic yarns in that weight.  


If you decide to make this shawl I just want to warn you that you will have to block it once you're done because otherwise the pattern just doesn't show up very well when you are wearing it.  I've heard some people say that you can't block acrylic yarn.  I do it all the time with only water and pins to hold it in place and I've never had any trouble.  I also didn't put fringe on every row as per the instructions because I didn't want the fringe to over take the shawl pattern.  You could do it either way but remember to buy a bit extra because long fringe uses a lot of yarn.

I know that January is a bit early for some of us to start thinking about Christmas, but I really hope that you'll join me and link up some of the Christmas gifts and projects you are making this year.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Pink Mosaics

Rachel over at Stitched in Color announced a pink themed mosaics contest sponsored by sew modern fabrics this week until the 23rd.  This is right up my alley because pink is one of my very favorite colors and almost all the projects that I've worked on since the first of the year have included pink. So, it was no hardship to peruse the pink fabrics and put together two different bundles that I'd love to win.

My first mosaic is titled "Pink is Bold" because pink is not just a soft girly color; it can be bold and strong.

pink is bold

From top left to right: 1. Art Gallery Fabrics - Rapture - Vivacious Marvel - Cherry 2. Michael Miller - Birds of a Feather - Tweet - Aqua 3. Riley Blake - Simply Sweet - Sweet Quilt - Blue 4. Violet Craft - Waterfront Park - Union Station - Navy 5. Sweetwater - Noteworthy - Fly A Kite - Kisses 6. Art Gallery Fabrics - Minimalista - Optical - Watermelon 7. Cloud 9 Organics - Seven Seas - High Seas - Red 8. Lizzy House - Catnap - Kitty Dreams - Cranberry 9. Riley Blake - Flutter - Stripe - Red 10. Urban Chicks - Boho - Market - Whisper 11. Riley Blake - The Simple Life Cottons - Simple Buntings - Red 12. Thomas Knauer - Asbury - Ferris Wheel - Red

My second mosaic is called "Pink is Happy". That Heather Ross bee fabric is 
definitely making me smile right now and I love it with the Thomas Knauer Matchstick fabric too. 

pink is happy

If you love pink too, go and make a mosaic and enter it in the contest.

Finishing the Pink Chevron Quilt!

For all of you that have been following along with my progress on the Pink Chevron Quilt, I'm proud to report that I buckled down this weekend and got it completely finished.  Now I can get it out in the mail so that it arrives by my sister's due date in February!

pink chevron frntnbck

This week my main job was finishing the binding.  Binding seems like it should be a very straightforward business, but there are still plenty if decisions to be made at this stage.  Fabric choices, binding width, straight grain or bias binding all need to be decided on.

Before even beginning this quilt I knew that I wanted to complete it with rounded corners.  It really would have looked good either way, but I like the mix of soft edges with the straight chevrons.

I also love how the backing turned out.  I tend to do a lot of pieced backings because I love the look, and also because I don't tend to have yardage in my stash.  I think that pieced backings are where thrift and design mingle. :)

Cutting Corners:

Since I chose rounded corners, I had to make bias binding.  Straight grain doesn't like to curve around corners.  Because of this, I didn't have enough of the original fabric that I had chosen for the binding :(  Oh well, plan B!  I had more than plenty of the white on black dot fabric to make binding so it all worked out just fine :)

I was surprised that a few of my quilting friends told me that they would be nervous about making curved corners on their quilts.  I totally understand this fear.  It's nerve racking to hack off a corner of your nearly finished quilt.  But, fear not!  It's really fairly easy and you don't need special tools that you don't already have.

1. Find a bowl with a pleasing diameter and place it on the edge of your squared-up quilt.


2. Trace the curve on all four corners.


3. Cut on the traced line.


See :) No worries.  It's easy.

The other worry my buddies had was binding the curve.  For some reason, this strikes fear into the hearts of some quilters because they don't want to end up with puckers and wobbly or cupped corners.  With just a little extra care curved corners can be pucker and wobble free no matter if you are hand finishing or machine finishing your binding.

Binding the Curve

1. When sewing on your curved binding it is very important not to stretch it around the curve.  Don't yank it or pull it in place because this will cause your quilt edges to cup.  Gently lay the binding flat around the curved edges while you sew.

Next you have to flip your binding to the back side in order to sew it down.  There are lots of good ways to do this, but for curves I use the glue method.  You can buy basting glue in most quilting shops, but washable school glue works just as well for this method.

2.  Place a line of glue inside of the stitch line from where you sewed on the binding.  Lay the binding over it making sure it covers the stitches and lightly press it down with a hot iron.


This method is great for getting perfectly flat corners and does not damage your quilt at all.  If you mess up, no worries, just pull the pieces apart and re-glue.


Now all you need to do is either hand or machine stitch your binding down and you are finished.  The glue will come out completely in the wash.

I hope that you've enjoyed this post and got a few tips that will help you in the future.  If you want to see more about the glue binding method, I recommend you watch this video by Sharon Schambers.  She has a lot of great videos on quilting that will blow your mind!

I will be doing one more post relating to this quilt next week.  I'm really excited about it and *hint* it has something to do with the label :)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Quilting the Pink Chevron Quilt

I've finally got the quilting for the pink chevron quilt completed!  I'm excited to share some pictures of the quilting with you, and I also want to take this moment to talk about another great tool that I got over the holidays.

First, Let's talk tools

I finally invested in a real pair of quilting gloves over the holidays.  This is the first quilt that I've used them on and all I can say is WOW, why oh why did I wait so long!  In my defense, I really didn't think that they would make such a difference.  I'd used a pair of garden gloves before because I'd heard that they were basically the same thing at a much cheaper price.  Wrong!


While there are many quilting gloves on the market, I bought a pair of Machingers in the small/medium size.  They are reasonably priced at about $11 USD, and they are worth every penny.  They didn't make my hands hot, thread didn't stick to them, and those rubber tips grip the quilt better than anything that I've used before.  I'm really impressed.  


Honestly, learn from my mistakes and don't spend your money on cheap garden gloves that just don't help you move the quilt around under your domestic machine.  It's better to save up and invest in the right tools from the start. 

Okay, now onto the quilting 

Last week, I talked about doing either an allover pattern or quiting within the chevrons.  Because no thread that I looked at went well with all the colors, I decided to quilt each chevron individually.  This let me shift between a variegated pink, a cream, and a black thread depending on the color of the chevron.

This also let me play around with the quilting a lot more too.  After I stitched each chevron row in the ditch, I got to practice lines, figure 8's, swirls, loops, and flowers.


I used black thread on the black chevrons because I thought the other colors were too contrasty.  The quilting on the black chevrons does't really show on the front, but I made sure to do something pretty on those rows because the black REALLY shows on the back.


I thought that black flowers on the back would look better then random black squiggles.  


I also quilted some inspiring words into one of the chevrons.  They are really subtle, but I think that they add a sweet touch to the quilt.  Just in case you are wondering, the words I wrote are kind, honest, brave, sweet, silly, and lovely.

Now onto the binding and the label!!!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Blogaversary and Basting

Can you believe it!!!  It's my blog's two year anniversary!  Back when I started this blog, I didn't really know anything about blogging or if it was for me.  Two years later I'm just so thrilled and thankful for all the people that I have met while blogging and all the lessons that I have learned through the enormously generous blogging community.  Thank you to all those who read and follow my blog.  Let's have a cupcake to celebrate!


I'm also making a lot of progress on the baby quilt for my sister's new little girl due in February.  I've got the front and back completely pieced.


I'm really pleased with the fabric combinations especially because everything for this quilt came out of my stash.  Nope, I didn't buy one new piece of fabric!  I'm not against buying new fabric when I need it, but since I have to order fabric online or drive almost an hour to the nearest quilt shop, I'm trying to use what I have first.  Even that crazy pink stripe that had to be starched stiff before it would stop stretching!!!! 


If you read my last post, you'll know that I started with the red, cream, and black Olivia the pig fabric.  I then had to dig deep in the stash to find enough pink, cream, and black to balance it all out.  My favorite fabric is the little pink, red, and black floral fabric and the black with red and white dot fabric.  I really wanted to use that black red and white dot fabric in this quilt, but I didn't quite have enough so I had to get creative and used some cherry fabric in one block and some floral fabric in another to finish the chevron .  I actually like that rogue block a lot.  It's the rebel in me :)


I'm also trying something totally new to me.  I've spray basted this quilt.  Normally I baste by hand using a herringbone stitch, but I'm trying this method to see how I like it.  So far I'm not too sure.  It was a bit messy, but that may be my inexperience, and it really smells bad (like burnt plastic).  But, it's sticking really well and it flattened out nicely.  


I'm going to start quilting this on my machine by tomorrow so I'll let you all know if the spray effects the stitching at all.  I'm still not totally sure how I want to quilt this either.  I'm torn between doing something that follows the chevrons or FMQ an all over floral pattern.  I have some nice King Tut variegated pink thread that I'll be using for the quilting.

I'm also trying to think of a good name for this quilt and so far I've come up with nothing.  I could use some help.  Suggestions anyone?  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year, New Project, New Tools

Happy New Year!

2013 is a year that I will never forget.  It has been an emotional roller coaster ride full of ups, downs, and upside-downs.  My family has been through a lot this year, and while the people in my life are my greatest joy, I'm so grateful for the happiness that my various artistic and crafty pursuits bring into my life and the lives of my friends and family.  There is just something very therapeutic about working on a project that will eventually bring a little more sunshine into someone's life.

At Christmas, I got a few really nice, new tools.  Over the next few weeks I plan on sharing my opinions on some of these tools so that I can help my fellow crafters out there, who are thinking about how to best use those holiday gift cards ;)

My first review is of the Fons and Porter flannel design wall.  I got the 60"x72" size.  I've been looking at design walls for a long time, and finally decided on this one because is was reasonably priced and easy to hang up and take down.  I like the quality of the panel.  It's thin, but not flimsy, and the edges are all finished. I also like the grommets for hanging on the top, but I wish that it had them on the bottom too. The most important part is that my blocks really do stick and stay when placed on the flannel.


The packaging recommends that you find a nice flat wall to hang the design wall on, free from knobs, hooks, moldings, doors, etc.  Because I live in a fairly small apartment, I don't have a wall that meets these criteria.  My solution was to hang the wall from my shrunk using 3M hooks and then securing the design wall to the floor (also using 3M hooks) at an angle.  I figure that this way, the blocks have a better chance of not falling off, and I avoid the cabinet pulls on my shrunk.

I think it's working well, but after the project I have on there now is put together, I'm going to rehang the hooks using a level and try to tighten the design wall up more so it hangs taught.

All and All, I'm really happy with this design wall.  The grid lines and bias lines are a great help, and I'm sure glad to be able to put my blocks on a wall rather than trying to lay everything out on the floor!

I'm sure that you noticed the quilt that's on my new design wall :) Because it's the New Year, I'm glad that my first project is for my sister's new baby girl who is due in February.  I started this project with 4 quarter yard cuts of red, black, and cream Olivia the pig fabric that my Mother got me last year.  I then raided my stash to find enough pink, cream, and black to fill out the rest of the quilt.  I had to dig deep, but I'm happy with the fabric combinations.  I'm also liking the chevrons because my sister likes modern design and the pattern is pretty easy to assemble.


I'll keep you updated on my progress over this next month.  I'm hoping to get this done ASAP so that it arrives before the baby :)  Wish me luck!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...