Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A new quilter in the family...

So, last week the guild had our annual Christmas party. I invited my daughter to come with me...she didn't really want to come until I told her there would be food :) We played a game called Fat Quarter Frenzy. Each person brought 3 FQ's to play with. One by one, FQ's were thrown into the center of the table (the pot). At the end of the game, whoever still had a FQ in their hands got to keep the whole pot. So guess who won the whole pot? That's right.
She won 21 fat quarters. Of course, my friends were all asking her what she might make with all this new treasure. As of 2 hours earlier, she had no intention of ever going to a guild meeting and now she was the proud owner of a whole lot of fabric.

So on the way home...with no prompting from me...she announces that it might be cool to make a quilt. I know, RIGHT?!

When we searched for quilt patterns (I'm thinking beginner friendly), she really fell in love with the dresden plate. She wasn't totally convinced until I told her that it might be kind of advanced and that I haven't even tried to make one yet. Well, that did it. Determined to make a dresden quilt, I told her we really need to practice one first...
We used this tutorial
I wanted her to practice quilting too. Color me impressed. She free-motion stippled over the whole design. And did an amazing job!  I coached, but she made every stitch by herself.
On her practice piece, I gave her the challenge of quilting her name over and over.  On her finished pillow cover, she signed her name in the corner.
I think I might be the proudest mom in the whole world right now.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A little something extra...

I feel so guilty when it takes more than a couple of weeks to finish a baby quilt.  I know I should get over this, but I'm not sure how.  I can make one of these bears in just a day or two.  A quick easy project that actually seems to get more oohs and ahhs than the quilts.  I've thought about just making the bears, if I didn't enjoy quilting so much :)  So baby Jude is getting a little something extra to go with his quilt.
This is my 2nd finish for this week.  Wow.  When I look at it that way...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jude's quilt

My finish for the week. This baby quilt is for a sweet family at my church who had a baby back in August.  I know, I know...another one that's 3 months late!  I have joked with his mom that my goal was to get it done before he went off to college...mission accomplished!  The family is moving to Asia, so my real deadline was before they leave.  This is also the quilt that I was thinking about posting a tutorial for.  It's really just a combination of a bunch of tutorials that I have found helpful throughout the www.  So I haven't decided if the www NEEDS another tute out there.  To be continued...

Hopefully not the ONLY thing I finish, but most likely.  We have a very busy week ahead...annual Christmas party tonight for the guild, work wednesday-saturday (I constantly have to remind myself that I DO have a regular job), Ladies Christmas Tea at my church AND my 5th anniversary with my hubby on friday and celebrating that anniversary on saturday.  So for those of you who just KNOW you should be getting a quilt from me any day now...just KNOW that I AM working on it!  Not sure if I'm gonna make all those Christmas deadlines, but I haven't given up yet!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sewing Challenge

Check out this new website!  I entered my Christmas quilts.  Be sure to check out ALL the projects.  There's some pretty good ideas for Christmas gifts.
Have a blessed day!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Tale of Two Quilts

Remember this quilt top?  I didn't give an explanation of it in my last post, so here it is...
We had an auction planned for Sunday Nov. 21st at church to benefit our Awana program. I usually just donate a haircut to this auction each year, but this is the first year that my husband and I are "Commanders" of this ministry.  When someone mentioned how cool it would be if I could donate a quilt for the auction, I thought, "that's a GREAT idea!"  Why not?  I have made a couple of quilts using this pattern and knew how easy and fast it comes together.  And how popular those quilts turned out to be, so why not?  I knew I wanted to just make a lap sized quilt and planned to make the top on tuesday and quilt and bind it on wednesday (my weekend)...plenty of time before the auction on sunday, right?  With this pattern, I like to wash it before giving it, so...
I love the crinkly, quilty softness of the raw edges on all those circles.  And then I looked closer...

Most of the blocks looked just like this.  But there were 2 blocks (same fabric) that looked like this...

In hind-sight, had I used a tighter stitch, I probably could have avoided this particular "disaster".  But it is easier to navigate those curves with a slightly longer stitch AND as I said before, I have made this pattern before...twice.  I felt safe washing it.  After the initial shock and devastation subsided a little, knowing the auction was only 3 days away, and I would be working all 3 of those days, I needed to figure out what to do.  Try to repair this one?  Give up the idea of an auction quilt all together?  Or start over?  I went through some of my favorite quilting blogs looking for inspiration (and comfort).  I found this tutorial at Cluck Cluck Sew.  It was one of those "someday" quilts.  I decided "someday" was today...well, tomorrow.  It was 1:00 am and I had to work the next day, so I decided to get some sleep and start fresh on thursday...ok, it was already thursday, but I needed sleep.
Morning came WAY too early.  I woke up at 4:50 am.  Unable to will myself back to sleep, I got up and started making new blocks.  By 8am, I had 22 out of 30 blocks completed. 
I had run out of the Kona white and knew a trip to the fabric store would be my lunch break.  I got home about 4:30 and went back to work.  By bedtime, I had it loaded on the frame and knew sleep would not be a problem this time.
I know I have mentioned before just how much I LOVE this frame, but when I got the quilting done on this quilt in just over an hour (my lunch break on friday), I fell in love all over again. 

No straight lines, just meandering all over.  The 1st quilt took about 2 1/2 hours to quilt without the frame...just rolling, re-rolling, and maneuvering it through the machine...what a pain! 
Sorry for the blurry pic. I forgot to bring my camera to the auction so I snapped this with my phone.

All in all, I'm glad I decided to make a new quilt.  It was a long week, but it was for a good cause.  And I will definitely be making more of these blocks.  I am so grateful for all you crafty quilty people out there who share your creativity and talent online.  Thank you!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Out of the strain of the doing, into the peace of the done...

~Julia Woodruff, Gone

I borrowed this one from Stray Stitches blog.  I don't know where she finds quotes for her posts, but she's had some GREAT ones.  This quote spoke to me because I have worked on this baby quilt for 3 months now.  (Found the pattern here).  It shouldn't have taken me this long, but I had the hardest time with the quilting. I thought I wanted to use my Flynn frame and just stipple it, but the length of the quilt was too much for the 48" rods that come with the frame.  I have been to every place in my little town that might possibly have pvc pipe and/or emt rods that I could use to do larger quilts with my frame, but was unsuccessful.  The more time that went by, the more trouble I had finding the motivation I needed to finish. I finally finished it last week.  I decided done is best.  So when I read this quote, I could truly relate.  I am feeling that peace, and it feels good.  But I will not be posting any close-ups of the quilting on this one.
Since it took me so long, I figured I would throw in a little sorry-it-took-so-long gift, so baby Britton also got a teddy to go with his quilt.  And here's something that I thought was pretty cool with this quilt...
His mama thought it would be cool if I could somehow incorporate a piece of her wedding gown.  So I pieced this block right in the center of the back of his quilt.  VERY cool.  As much as I want to see the quilts I make being used and loved, I do take it as a compliment when mama says it's too pretty to use and she plans to hang it on the wall in his room.

It amazes me how a finish can motivate me to mark more things off my list...

It's time to tackle the Christmas list.  I'm praying the motivation I feel right now will last.  I NEED it to last!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

This is my 1st time to participate in something like this as I haven't been blogging OR quilting for very long.  But it sounded like fun.  Amy over at Amy's Creative Side is hosting a Blogger's Quilt Festival.  When you get a chance, you should definitely go check out the other entries...SO much inspiration!
The quilt I've decided to share is my very 1st quilt.  I made this for a very special friend who had actually inspired me to start quilting.  Marian and I had talked many times about quilting and when her eyes got too bad for sewing, she very sweetly passed on all the books she had on crafting and quilting.  When she was diagnosed with cancer in December of 2008, I decided it was time to try.  I read everything I could...books, blogs, anything I could find on Google...finally, I heard about a quilting class being held at my local Hobby Lobby store.  I went to my 1st class in March of 2009.  We met once a week for that whole month, but by the 2nd week I already had my quilt top finished.

Oh, looking back now, I see just how ambitious I was.  I was determined to quilt it myself.  Thought I was so clever finding "fusible" batting.  After ripping out a few lines of stitches, I decided maybe for this 1st one, I should let a "professional" help me finish.  It was worth the wait.  I got it back about a month later and in May, I was able to give it to Marian.  I thought it would be hard to say goodbye to that quilt, but she loved it so much, it was worth seeing the joy on her face.

Miss Marian passed away on April 28th of this year.  I miss my friend.  My hope now is that maybe I can inspire someone who has just "thought" about quilting to actually give it a try...the way Marian inspired me :)
May 2009
Thanks for reading my story and thanks to Amy for organizing this Festival.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Well, it's not much, but I think it counts.  I SO want to get this one finished!  But I keep getting discouraged with the quilting.  It was too long to mount on my Flynn frame so I decided to "keep it simple" and just follow the blue lines with some straight lines.  Problem is, I'm using white thread.  Basically, everytime I get to a brown block, it looks as though someone keeps bumping me while I'm sewing...ugh.  Everytime the thought crosses my mind to just rip it all out and start over, I just can't DO it!  I hate ripping and I have to keep telling myself, done is best.  So I will push through.
Also, I started a tutorial a few weeks ago and then realized I had way too many things to finish before Christmas.  2 twin-sized, 1 queen sized, and 1 lap-sized quilt.  The tute quilt is going to be a baby gift for someone special, but I've had to put it aside for now.  Here's a sneaky peeky anyway...
I think my hope now is that if I actually SHOW you what I'm working on, then maybe just MAYBE, I can find some motivation to get these things DONE!
Darlene :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thank you!

Just a quick post to say all of you for your kind words and encouragement for my 1st gig as guest blogger over at Stash Manicure. Thanks for all the sweet comments and for those of you who became followers of my blog. I am overwhelmed at all the kindness.
Oh! And I'm still working on that regular job sure does cramp my quilty style ;)
Stay tuned!
Darlene :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Color me honored...

Check out my 1st post as a "guest blogger" over at Stash Manicure! I'm SEW excited...and I just can't hide it! Ok, corny, I know. Couldn't resist. Thank you Madame Samm for having me!

Monday, October 11, 2010


This past May, my guild held an auction. Members had donated stuff to be auctioned off to benefit the guild and we sold tickets for $.25 and also $1.00 for bigger items. You could "shop"the tables and put a ticket in the sack for the items you hoped to "win". I spent $20 for tickets and had fun shopping. Here's what I won... This was actually in a crate. Not organized, just a bunch of scraps, stuffed in this crate. Some pretty good sized, but none very pretty. I've been looking at these piles since May and now I'm really starting to wonder...what am I gonna DO with all this fabric? I thought about just donating it back to the guild, but the charity quilts committee already seemed overwhelmed with fabric donations. I have been in the habit of only purchasing fabric when I actually have a project in mind. I had no project in mind when I put my quarter in the sack for this treasure...that's right, it was on the $.25 table. I guess I didn't really expect to win it. So I've decided I need help with this pile o' fabric. Maybe a scrappy pattern that would cut pieces small enough to camouflage the not-so-pretty fabrics? Any of my quilty friends have any ideas?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Instant gratification...

I've had a busy couple of weeks, and we're just getting started. Do you guys realize just how close Christmas is?! I still have several quilts with Christmas deadlines and I keep getting sidelined with other projects. I made a diaper bag in the same prints as Jorden's purse, but the pockets were different on the inside.I had some pretty good sized scraps left over from Hayden's bag and I've had this pattern for something like 6 months now, so I decided to give it a try. It was quick and easy and SO cute! So Hayden's mommy got a little bonus with her diaper bag.That's right, it's a camera case. It was so fun to make, I couldn't stop...I pulled out some more scraps and made 3 more!
Once I got that out of my system, it was time to get back to work...

I have several quilts on my "to-do" list that are going to take some time to get finished and I REALLY wanted instant gratification. So, I pulled out my "Book of Inspiration", a binder that I keep (actually, there's 2 of them now) full of patterns that I have found in quilting magazines. I love the inspiration I get from magazines, but don't like the clutter of having them pile up in my house. So I bought a binder and some plastic sheet protectors, and voila! My books of inspiration were born. When I'm feeling low on creative juices, I turn to the books.

I've been wanting to try this pattern by Julie Herman of Jaybird quilts that I found in the Aug/Sept edition of McCall's Quick Quilts. I have several jelly rolls lying around (I need a 12-step program for my addiction to pre-cuts) and this one only took 16 strips. I went ahead and used 5 more strips to make the binding, but that's still only 21 strips used...I could still make another one!It took me about 12 hrs to make...mostly because I have quilting ADD and had a hard time staying on task. And I DO have a family to take care of! Oh, who am I kidding? My sweet daughter made herself some mac & cheese and forced me to take a break long enough to eat some for dinner ;) Thank you Aimee! Originally, I was thinking it would be nice to have a little lap quilt to take to church with me. It's FREEZING at my church! I caught a glimpse of one of the thermostat's, and it was set on 65 degrees! Don't these people know, room temperature is 74!
I'm pretty sure when I have my 1st hot flash, I will finally be comfortable. But until then, I'll have to start bringing my own warmth to church. Now, after I made this one (which I do love by the way) I decided it really looks like a baby quilt. So I may need to make another one and give this one away...we'll see.
Also, I am working on a baby blanket for a friend who just had a baby boy. Using a Pure jelly roll...that's right, I said jelly roll. I told you I have a problem!
I've had this idea bouncing around in my head for a couple of months and I thought it might make a good tutorial for beginning quilters. So, I'm working on my 1st tutorial. Yay! I'll post when it's finished.
One more little side note...has anybody noticed I also have a love for all things circle-ish? Circles and dots...I've definitely noticed a trend here.
Ok, now back to that Christmas list...
Have a blessed day!

Monday, September 6, 2010

a break from quilting

Here's what I did today...
My 1st time installing snaps, but this is a pretty large bag so I felt like it needed something to help with the shape. 2 slip pockets and a zipper pocket (every girl needs a zipper pocket ;).

This one's for a friend that works with my husband, who's daughter is turning 18 in a couple of days. I really hope she likes it.
I hope your Labor Day was more relaxing than mine.
But I'm not complaining...marking another one off the list :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Another finish...

Ok, I wasn't going to blog about this one because it's so similar to my 1st quilt. The most obvious difference is, this one's a queen-size. It was made for a friend in Seattle. Actually, it's for his mom. I ultimately decided to go ahead and post because I am just amazed at the quilting. I sent this one to Wanda Jones, a long-armer in my quilt guild. She was able to turn my somewhat plain-jane quilt into a masterpiece.
I took a close-up of the quilting from the back side because it's a little easier to see. I have heard of Trapunto, but haven't seen too many in person. It's difficult to tell from a 2-dimensional picture, but see that large butterfly in the middle? Well, it actually has an extra layer of batting in it. And she did one in EACH of the plain blocks...well, they're not plain anymore!
I also wanted to take pics because this is my 1st pieced back.
I was afraid I didn't have enough of the backing fabric and I had bought all that they had, so I used the extra blocks I had and just pieced it. Very cool...if I do say so myself.
I finished the binding tonight, so now I just have to get it shipped. Yay! Mark one more off my (seemingly) never-ending list.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I'm still quilting...

I know I've been quiet for awhile (can't say I didn't warn ya'll)
but I HAVE been busy.
We went with a group from our church on a missions trip to San Luis Potosi, Mexico...amazing, exhausting, humbling...more pics here. But before we left, I made this... Yep. It's another Circle Around quilt. But this time, I made it the size of the original pattern (twin) AND I used a full-sized flat sheet for the backing, and a pillowcase (cut on bias) for the binding. The pillowcases came as a set of 2, so the other one will be used as a cover for the quilt when not in use...and a pillowcase when it IS being used ;)

Straight line quilting (which I didn't think I would like) makes this quilt the current favorite in this house. My daughter seems to think it belongs at college with HER. But it currently sits on the couch (or in my lap).
When we got home from Mexico, I guess the stress and exhaustion (totally worth it) caught up with me and I caught a cold. So no sewing for the 10 days in Mexico and then again for the weekend after...
But this past weekend, I knew it was time to get back to work. While we were away, a friend from work had a baby boy. I can't wait to meet him, but in the meantime, I'm working on this...
Found the pattern in the Moda Bake Shop, of course.
Ok, back to work...oh, who am I kidding?!
Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

So many projects, so little time!

I haven't posted in awhile because I have truly been trying to mark things off my "to-do" list. We've had birthdays and weddings, babies born, road between all the busy-ness, here's what I've been working on... Turned this...
...into this.
Using my new Twister tool. Fun fun. Except, I'm having trouble finding the motivation to add any borders. This may be one of the quilt tops I use to practice on when I get my long arm machine. Someday.
Finished this pillow a couple of weeks ago for a sweet friend who had her 90th birthday on July 3rd.

You guys saw this one (still on the frame) in a previous post and I never got around to showing the finished quilt. So here it is with it's teddy bear companion.
Also finished this one from the Moda Bake Shop.

My 1st bias binding. Not as difficult as I thought it would be.
This latest finish is for a 3 yr old friend. This cool quilt was featured on the cover of Quilts and More magazine. I had just bought an Olfa circle cutter and could hardly wait to use it. This quilt was so fast and fun to make. It's the 1st pattern I've made that I KNOW I'll be making more of.
The backing is pink flannel to make it extra snuggly. I went ahead and washed it to see how pretty the raw edges would turn out. Love it.

I still have a loooooong list to conquer. [Taking a deep breath...]
Have a blessed day.
Darlene :)