Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wip Wednesday

This week, I've been working on a commissioned quilt and a little time-saving tutorial to go with it. The main fabric for this quilt is 2D Zoo in chocolate by Michael Miller, and it's absolutely adorable! This will be the only picture I can show of this little guy until he goes to live in his new home...
What are you working on this week?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Crazy Quilted Wrist Pincushion Tutorial


Now say that title three times fast! I took some inspiration from Barbara Randle, and made my first crazy quilt block ever. Instead of making a throw or a bag, I decided to make a wrist pincushion. It's a wonderful thing to have, and I don't think I'll ever go back to my "Mater"--as I so lovingly called my old pincushion--again. It is an excellent way to use those swatches of home decor fabrics I have no need for but don't have the heart to throw away, either. If you'd like to make one, here's what I did...
4"x4" scrap quilting cotton, muslin or other sturdy fabric for foundation
6 or more swatches home decor fabric cut into assorted 1" and 3/4" strips (3"-6" in length)

4"x4" square coordinating home decor fabric
4.5"x15.5" fabric for arm band (can be longer or shorter to fit wrist)*
poly fill or other material for stuffing your pincushion

Note: I used 1/4" seam allowance unless otherwise specified.
*Instead of making a fabric band, you could use elastic, a plastic bracelet, etc.

1. Cut a 1.5" square from decorator fabric scraps for center piece (can be larger or smaller to accommodate print size or taste).

2. Sew the 1.5" square to the center of the 4"x4" piece of foundation fabric using a 1/8" seam allowance.

3. Paper piece the strips onto your foundation fabric. If you need more help, keep reading. If not, skip to step 4.

Take one strip of the home decor fabric and sew it to one side of the 1.5" square, right sides together.

You can cut your strips to the correct length before sewing them on, but I like to save time by sewing them on and then trimming the excess.
Fold the strip back so that the right sides of both fabrics are facing up. Press the seam open.

Continue attaching the strips in the same way, working your way around the center square and pressing your seams open.

4. Turn the block upside down so that the back of the foundation fabric is facing you. Sew around the edge of the foundation fabric to secure the paper piecing.

5. Trim the excess fabric from around the foundation. I even trimmed off a bit of the foundation fabric as well.

6. Embellish as desired. I used some embroidery stitches on my machine to sew over some of the seams and Perle 5 cotton for some hand stitching.

7. Place both 4"x4" squares with right sides together (the quilted square should actually be smaller by this point). Sew the squares together using a 1/4" seam allowance from the edge of your crazy quilted square. Be sure to leave a 1.5" opening for turning and stuffing your pincushion.
8. Make the wrist band.
Take your large piece of fabric and fold it in half lengthwise. Finger press and open. Now turn each long side in so that it lines up with the crease. Press.

Now fold the fabric in half lengthwise again. Press.

Sew lengthwise on both sides of the band using a 3/16" seam allowance.

Trim Velcro and arm band to desired size. The band should be about 1/2" to 1" longer than the desired finished length.

Fold over one short end of the band, place Velcro over fold, and attach Velcro by sewing on all sides. I just like to sew right near the edges. This secures the unfinished end as well.

(And, please excuse my horribly blurry photo!!)

**Turn the wristband over** so that your first piece of Velcro is facing the table and repeat with the other piece of Velcro. This will allow the Velcro to connect properly.

9. Trim the corners, and turn pincushion right sides out.

10. Sew wristband to the bottom of the pincushion by hand using a running stitch (or other stitch of your choice).

11. Stuff your pincushion and whip stitch the opening closed.

Congratulations, you did it!

Please let me know if you have questions by leaving a comment or sending me an email. I'd be glad to help in any way I can!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Craft Table

Somebody pinch me. It's finished! Thanks to my wonderful husband and plans from Ana at Knock-Off Wood, I have the most perfect and beautiful craft table. Now, my husband would be quick to point out his mistakes, but to me, it's sheer perfection!
Keep in mind, my crafting space used to look like this...
...and this.
I'm still not sure how to organize things like thread, ribbons, notions, scraps, etc. Any ideas? I'd love a little advice!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spring to Finish Challenge 2010

So, I've been away from my sewing machine for a while, but I'm back now. My craft table is finished and in place (pictures to come), and it is beautiful. My husband is amazing!! I am ready to tackle my next set of projects, so I decided to go public with my "To Make" list. I joined the Spring to Finish Challenge 2010 over at Tallgrass Prairie Studio. Here is my little list:

1. Duvet cover and pillow shams for our master bedroom
2. Baby boy quilt for a friend, starring 2D Zoo by Michael Miller (in chocolate)
3. Quilt with circles...I've always wanted to do it, so now is the time. I am also going to try to do a bit of hand quilting on this one, which will be a new experience for me. I found this great tutorial by designer Anna Maria Horner. My hubby's grandmother also knows how to do this, so I'll have to take some lessons while she's here visiting!

Do you have any projects on your "To Make" list? Hop on over to Tallgrass Prairie Studio and join the fun!

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Vacation Inspiration

I've left New Mexico for the green, rolling hills of Alabama to visit my family. I must say, spring here is really beautiful! I'm really happy to be here, but I can't lie...I miss my sewing machine. I know I sound crazy, but it's how I feel. I also miss my husband, of course!

My mom has been telling me for weeks about these quilts her friend, Boo, makes and sending me fuzzy pictures from her iPhone. Yesterday I finally got to see them in person, and can I just say, "Wow!"? They were amazing...and crazy (obviously). Boo is friends with Barbara Randle from B. Randle Designs, author of this book (and a second one as well!)...
(image from B. Randle Designs website)
These quilts and bags are probably the wildest, most embellished (and fun!) sewn items I've seen! I read the whole book last night, and according to Barbara, you should embellish your crazy quilt until you think it's perfect, then add two more things! Buttons, monogramming, applique, yarn, embroidery, you name it, it's probably on there. She uses foundation piecing with a preference for home decor or apparel weight fabrics over quilting cotton. If you get the chance, check out the B. Randle Designs website for a bit of bright and fun inspiration. I know Boo's quilts and Barbara's books have inspired me to think outside the box when it comes to quilting! Happy Friday!