Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Finish: Sharla's Sock Monkey

It is FRIDAY! I know it has been a short week, but sometimes I think that makes it harder.  I did get another quilt done over the holiday weekend and it was Sharla's Sock Monkey quilt.  There was no real pattern for this one, we just cut 5 1/2" squares and she did those in rows with a sashing between the rows. The fabric is Monkey Around by Bethany Berndt Shackelford for Quilting Treasures.  We found the fabric at the Dallas Quilt Show.

I quilted it in an all over meander, and I tried very very hard not to sew over any monkey faces, but alas there were a couple of the little ones that I just wasn't quick enough to avoid.  But I don't think I went over any of the bigger monkeys.

Sharla did a good job in making sure the bigger monkeys we always facing the same direction. It is one of the few quilts that had a definite top and bottom, so I had to be careful of where I place the label so it wouldn't be upside down.

I used Signature's Persian Red thread, which looks really good, it wasn't an exact match of the reds, but then there were a couple of different shades of red.  I love the red/white dotty fabric she picked for the back, it is cheerful and fun.  I will say I think this might be Sharla's most favorite quilt to date and it might have something to do with that she has been called "monkey" since she was a child.  First our dad called her that, and now my nephew has picked up on it and uses it. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Lovely Year of Finishes - May Wrap Up

May is almost over, and I'm happy to say I've made progress on my goal.  I had my main goal for May was to get the shirts for the four memory quilts I need to make deboned and cut into pieces.  I decided to do very simple quilts, square in a box is what I'm calling it.  The center of each block will be a square cut from one of Samuel's shirts and then it will have a frame around it of fabric.  I have purchase a grab bag of fabric from Fat Quarter Shop as well as some destash sales off of instagram for the framing fabrics.  They all will be scrappy, so that some of every shirt is in every quilt.

I put off cutting the shirts for a long time.  It was a real mental block for me.  I was most afraid of messing them up and disappointing my friend.  So they sat in this stage, while I fretted and tried to figure out the best way to go about cutting them.

Then I sat down one night and began cutting them into parts.  I cut the sleeves off, then the fronts and backs, stripping off yokes, cuffs, collars and button plackets. Those pieces went into a bucket for me to worry about later.  I'm going to use them to make some string blocks for the labels.  When I was done I had this.

The photo is a little blurry, but I was tired and didn't want to go get my camera so I just used my phone.  And they sat in this stage for a while, and then I began cutting again.  I decided to cut the center squares 5" and I'll do the framing strips at 2 1/2".  I've been cutting several nights on the bigger pieces and as of last night this is where they stand.

I'm about 1/4 to 1/3 done, because the tote on the right was jammed full when I started.  I'm hoping to keep cutting some every night until I'm done.  Once that is done then I can start dividing them into four piles so everyone gets some of each shirt.  

My other goals for May were to get more quilts finished.  I am happy to say that I quilted five quilts this month.  I even tried out my ruler base....didn't have much success with it, but will try again.  I've blogged about 4 of the quilts.  Which include Star Crossed, which is the one I used a ruler to quilt and it is being slept on nightly by Tucker.

Then I did Sharla's batik quilt, which is one of my favorites to date.  It is bright and colorful and just makes me smile.  I think she would have it on her bed if it were big enough. 

Then I did Sharla's Turning Twenty High Street.  This line of fabric is great, the colors are bright and cheerful.  I think that is why we both loved it.  I told her I put it on the ground to take a picture and she wasn't thrilled, but she was ok with it.  

Then number four was my Every Which Way quilt, which I'm donating to Quilts of Compassion.  I have to say I love the quilts so much more once they have been washed and get all scrunchy!!!  I'm hoping this makes some little girl very happy.

I've not blogged about my last quilt, that will be tomorrow.  But here is a photo of it while it was still on the frame.  It is Sharla's sock monkey quilt.  She is really loving it and hopefully I will get some great pictures of it for tomorrow's blog.

I did have one more goal and that was to get another quilt cut.  I was only partially successful on that one.  I did get one cut out, but I can't show you because it is a gift.  I got my PB&J pressed and starched, to cut, but it is still on the ironing board.  If all goes well I maybe able to cut it this weekend.  Overall I'm very happy with my progress.  Could I have done more, sure, but I'm not in a race.  I've had fun and that is really all that matters.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pages for May

It has been a busy month, and I didn't get much scrapped.  I was too busy quilting.  But I did get two pages created for Trixie Scraps Designs, so I thought I would show those to you.

First is one I created for the word challenge on her blog.  It is a simple layout using Heart of a Friend Value Bundle, which is a fantastic kit.  I picked the word "friend" for everyone to use, and so it was an easy choice for me to use a photo of Sharla, since she is my best friend.

Next up on Memorial Day I was missing my mom and dad, so I decided to do a layout remembering them.  I used the kit Remembering You Value Bundle, which is great for these types of pages.  The photo was taken on a trip to the Grand Canyon.  I chopped Sharla and I out of it (hehehe).

Both of these kits are available and I linked the kit names to her store.  If you do digital scrapbooking they are a great for your stash.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Finish: Every Which Way...a quilt for charity

Happy Friday everyone!  This week has been a busy one.  I completed the quilting on my Every Which Way, which I have decided to donate to Quilts of Compassion.  The quilt is a crib size and when I picked the fabrics I thought it would be a baby gift for a friend, but she found out she is having a boy. So too bad Tina, this one is going home with someone else.

When I last blogged the quilt was on the frame. I loaded it up on Sunday so that I could get to work on it first thing on Monday.  I found a sale on Connecting Thread's thread last week, so I picked up several colors and I used Custard for this quilt.  It is a light yellow that worked really well.

Because the quilt was small I was able to quilt, bind and wash it on Monday.  I will admit it is not perfect, but I really do like how the all over meander worked on this quilt.  I tried to get some better photographs this week.  I tried outside of my sister's office in the shade so the yellow wasn't blown out by the sun.

The wind caught it, so you see the backing I used.  I think this might be the best photo for actual color for the pink, green and purple, but the yellow didn't show up quite as well as I would have liked. So I stopped at another spot and got this one.

It is in more sun, so the yellow is showing up a little more.  I recently signed up to join the New Modern Quilt Blogger Blog Hop and the organizer created a google group for everyone and it has really be a great learning experience.  I had seen a spot I wanted to used to try and get a cool picture, but it would have involved using a rusty fence. So I moved on to  this spot, but someone in the group said they used an old shower curtain under their quilts so they didn't get dirty.  I'm going to remember that trick.

I did do one close up shot to see the quilting.  It shows up the best on the purple. I also learned about water-marking my photos in the group as well.  It was also pointed out that my photos could be larger, so I'm trying that option too.  

I am very please with how this quilt looks completed and I'll be getting it into the mail next week.  I do think I'm going to make another one in a twin size at some point in the future.  It is a great pattern, and I want to see it quilted with some ruler work.  But that is another day.  Today I'm linking up with  Let's Bee Social with Sew Fresh Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Link a Finish Friday @ Richard and Tanya Quilts, Georgia Girl Quilts, Needle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation,  Finish It Up Friday @ Crazy Mom Quilts and Fabric Frenzy Friday @ Fort Worth Fabric Studio.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Hands 2 Help Charity Quilt Update

I volunteered to make a quilt for this years Hands 2 Help, and I picked the charity Quilts of Compassion. When I signed up I had in my mind what quilt I would donate.  I have one that although I love the colors on it, it has moose and bears on it and isn't really me.  The top was finished, so I thought it would be a breeze. Then as always in my world things don't work out quite the way I want.  First I've not been able to find backing fabric that works with it.  And of course it is older fabric, so I'm not having luck find any of the fabric from the line.

So I had to come up with plan b.....hmmmm....can you smell the bacon because my brain is frying.  Well I have a couple choices, make a new quilt from scratch or go through my stash of completed tops and pick one of them.  Since I know I don't have time to do one from scratch, I went through the tops.  I recently finished Every Which Way as a test quilt.  When I picked the colors I thought a pregnant friend was having a little girl, but she has found out she is having a boy.  So I've decided to do that one for charity.  I had bought backing fabric for it awhile ago, so it just needed to be pressed, loaded and quilted.

So today I've pieced the backing and loaded the quilt.  It is basted and ready to start quilting in the morning. Sorry for the dark picture, but I didn't get it done until late and the room doesn't have great lighting.

If all goes well it will be quilted and maybe even bound tomorrow.  I will still most likely donate the moose quilt at some point when I have found some backing fabric.  I will say I'm pretty nervous about donating my work, because I never feel it is good enough. But I think that is just my own insecurities and I need to get over them.  And hopefully you will be seeing a finished quilt on Friday.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday Finish: Sharla's High Street Turning Twenty

Yes it is Friday again, and I'm not really sure what happened to this week.  Normally I try to quilt on Monday's but that didn't happen this week.  In fact I'm not sure I even sewed on Monday.  So that meant I was pushing to get the quilting done and it bound for today.  But I did it...although it was close I didn't finish binding it until last night.

This quilt is Sharla's Turning Twenty using High Street by Lily Ashbury for Moda.  She made the top last year when I made mine.  I wasn't really blogging about quilting then and so there are not any pictures of the process.  I will say I picked out the fabric.  We had signed up for a turning twenty class, and thought we had 20 fat quarters in our Kissing Booth kits.  But the night before the class we opened up the kits to find there were only 12 in the kit, so I had to make a mad run the morning of class to our local quilt shop.  I was pretty scared because not only did I have to pick out 20 fat quarters for me, I had to pick out 20 for Sharla (and she is picky).  When I walked in the store I saw the High Street line all together and thought ok that would work  for Sharla or I, it has pinks, greens, yellows and oranges which we both love.  After walking around the store I kept going back to that line because I really loved it.  So I finally just decided that I would get half yard cuts and we would have matching quilts...again.

Well Sharla loved it too, and I think this is probably my favorite quilt(s) we've done.  The pattern is easy and shows off big prints really well. It finished at 75 x 90 inches, so it is not a small quilt. Sharla opted for the green surprise to anyone who knows her.  I did an all over meander using Signature Bamboo which is a light greenish and really worked great.  Here it is laid out on Sharla's office floor.

She used the same fabric as the outer border for the back, and I think it looks almost as good as the front.

Now this quilt looks good in any light, but I really wanted to see it outside in the sunshine, because I knew those colors would look even better. The problem is finding a spot in the sun where the quilt won't get all yucky.  My sister's office has a couple of trees but they were all in the shade this morning, but as I was pulling out of her parking lot I saw a patch of grass and thought why not.  Of course the people driving on Royal Lane thought I was a little crazy.

And the wind was not very helpful either.  The colors looked more washed out than I wanted, but the bright Texas sun isn't always my friend. And don't anyone tell Sharla that I laid her pretty newly finished quilt on the ground or I'm going to be in big trouble.

When I got to my office I thought I would try laying it on the sofa in the waiting room to see if that was any better. I think the quilting showed up a little better and the colors looked pretty good.  

I will confess I did make a couple of mistakes in the quilting, but Sharla loves it anyway and that is what is important.  I'm trying to get my next quilt ready and on the frame this weekend, so I can complete the quilting on Monday.  And last but not least today I'm linking up with  Let's Bee Social with Sew Fresh QuiltsConfessions of a Fabric Addict, Link a Finish Friday @ Richard and Tanya Quilts, My Quilt Infatuation, Needle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation,  Finish It Up Friday @ Crazy Mom Quilts and Fabric Frenzy Friday @ Fort Worth Fabric Studio.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday Finishes: It's a Two-fer Day

It's Friday....yeah...well for me it is only hump day, since I work Wednesday to Sunday, but I can work from home on Saturday and Sunday, so that makes those days a little better.  Today I have not one but two finishes!!!!

I didn't have a completed quilt last Friday because I worked on finishing a test quilt top. But over the weekend I loaded my Star Crossed test quilt.  It is a small quilt, because it was made to go on Tucker's dog bed that is under my long arm.  It is also my first quilt using the ruler base and ruler.  I have to be honest, I'm not super fond of using a ruler.  It was very difficult for me to control the machine and hold the ruler steady. But Tucker doesn't mind at all.

It looks better after it was washed, but most of the lines aren't that straight, and I even had some weird places that the machine seemed to catch on a seam and it couldn't get it to work at all.  Here is a close up of one spot that looked ok.   And ok was about as good as this one got and if you look at the small block on the left side you'll see a wiggle in the line.

All in all I'm happy I tried it, and I want to do some more practicing before I totally throw in the towel, but I think I'm going to be more of a free motion girl.

Next up I got Sharla's batik charm quilt, completed this week as well.  Tom and Mecca gave her four charm packs for Christmas 2013 and she decided to just put them together block style.  The colors are very pretty, and we got a multi-color batik for the borders and backing.  I used Signature's Tye Dye thread that was a perfect fit.

I did an all over meander and I will say I did cross over a line, but I'm not pointing it out, and if Sharla complains I'll make her quilt her own tops...hehehe.  I really love the fabric we used for the back on this one, and it is so me.  We had actually picked it out for one of my quilts, but when she got it home and put it next to this one, she just had to have it.  That girl is spoiled, hmmm wonder whose fault that is...I'll just blame Daddy.

I'm not sure why the flash kept going off this morning, I think maybe because it is still cloudy outside. This photo Sharla took with her iPad shows the colors a little better.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Winner Winner...chicken dinner...well not quite

Ever had one of those weeks where you are crazy busy but don't seem to get anything done.  That has been me.  Yes I have gotten lots done and you'll see some of it tomorrow, but for some reason I'm doing things not on my list, so I don't get to mark anything off of my list of To-Dos. But today I'm going to get something done and that is announce the winner of the Every Which Way Pattern.

I used a Random number generator to pick the winner and the number chosen was

Which means Connie Cain wins.  And let me tell you she has a very cool middle name.  I know it is cool because it is also my middle name (hehehe).  I will be emailing her the details shortly.  If love the pattern then you can get it HERE.  I will be back tomorrow to show you my finishes (yes if all goes well there will be 2!!!).

Friday, May 2, 2014

ALYOF - May Goals

It you haven't signed up for my giveaway you can find it HERE.

It is May, how did that happen.  Well it is time to set my goals for A Lovely Year Of Finish for May.  I have decided that my big goal for May will be to get the memory quilt shirts cut.  I have put it off long enough. By the time I finish it will be so hot they won't need quilts.  If you've not read before I'm doing four memory quilts for a friend and her children.  They suddenly lost their husband/father in December, and I thought it would be nice for them to have a keepsake.  What I wasn't prepared for was my procrastination at actually cutting the shirts.  But it has to be done and this is the month they get chopped.

I also want to get more quilts finished.  I have bought the ruler base for my Avante and a couple of rulers, so I want to experiment with those.  I have several quilts to use for practice, beginning with my Star Crossed quilt, ok it is Tucker's quilt.  I made it for his dog bed that stays under my long arm machine. He is such a faithful quilt buddy, I wanted him to have a quilt on his little bed.

And my last goal for the month is to get another quilt cut.  I really need to do two or three, but I want to get my PB&J blocks quilt cut out.  It should be easy to cut and easy to piece so I want to get some work done on it.  Right now it is just a bundle of fabric I purchased, but I love it and want to play with it soon.

May is going to be a busy month, but I have a three day weekend at the end, so hopefully everything will get done, and maybe even a little more. I am linking up with Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts and Melissa of BitterSweet Designs.  

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Friday Finish & Giveaway

Yes I realize it isn't Friday yet, but I've completed what I can for the week and I have a cool giveaway, so why not go ahead and post about it.

I am a little sad to say that I did not get a quilt completed this week ::insert sad face here::. I do have one loaded onto the machine, but it is going to slower since it will be my first quilt using a ruler.  But I did get something completed.  Yeah!!!  I was asked a couple of months ago to test a quilt for Cornelia of Pieced With Love called Every Which Way.  She designed the quilt for her daughter and once I saw it, I immediately said yes.

Now March and April were very busy months, but I thought it would be no problem to work one more quilt into the mix.  Yeah I know I'm not always the brightest bulb in the box.  She sent me the pattern and when I reviewed, I knew I would like making it.  My first hurdle was picking fabrics. I wanted to use some of the fabrics I had on hand.  I found three fabrics I really liked, but nothing to use for the background or backing. So I headed out to the store.  I really like what I found.  I was using yellow, pink, purple and green.  Now to do a test block.  And this is where things started going south for me.

I made my half square triangles and trimmed them up with my bloc-loc ruler, and I really liked the colors,  I did enough HST for two blocks...I must be psychic because I needed to all of them.

I put together the first test block and at the time, I thought something is wrong, but I was making the fatal mistake of sewing while tired.  Please for the sake of your sanity don't do that, it never leads to anything good.  About the only thing right in this block were the purple and green arrows.  I had even cut some of the pieces the wrong size, but was determined to get a block done.

I posted it on instagram and Cornelia told me it was put together wrong.  Of course once I looked at it I knew that....duh what was I thinking.  But looking at it I also decided that I wanted to change the pink and purple.  So it was off to do another block.  What I didn't do was get a good nights sleep before doing the second block, which would have been a very good idea.

Another block, and still it isn't right.  Now this one was much closer only one little HST was flipped wrong. But I decided that I liked the colors in this arrangement better.  So now I had to sew and trim 280 half square triangles.  Now the sewing part was easy but the trimming took time.  I would trim some every night as we watched TV.  First there was the green ones, then the pink ones and the the 120 purple ones.

Then I think nerves kicked in, because it just sat.  After two failed blocks I was afraid to start the assembly. But I knew I had to do it, so I sat down and started, and the first two rows I put together pictures, but believe me I was mad at myself.  It is a simple pattern, her directions are clear, but I'm just a dummy sometimes.  But I told myself to get over it and I did each row individually.  Then put the rows together.  I would double check myself, but once I slowed down it just worked. And soon I was sewing rows together.

And now I have a finished top!!!  Yeah!!!  Is it perfect, no, but I'm very happy with it.  I can't wait to start quilting it, but that is going to be a week or two from now.  

And now for the even better news, Cornelia has graciously offered a free copy to one of ya'll.  Yeap, she is a real sweetheart!!!  We are going to make this a very simple giveaway, just leave me a comment before Monday morning to enter.  Don't know what to say, then tell me your middle name (hahaha).  And if you want this pattern right now and just can't wait then you can buy it at Cornelia's Craftsy Store or her Etsy Store.  And if you want another chance to win it check out her blog and you can see the beautiful version of this that she made....she is @  Pieced With Love.