Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday Stash #11 - Finishings for the QOV quilt

The top of my QOV quilt is complete!

I purchased this 108" fabric for the backing from one of my LQS - The Cozy Quilter.  It's called Marbles, by Moda.  It's not fancy, but it's red and it's wide, so no piecing required!

I also shopped my stash for these two fabrics that will be for binding.  This first one is an old print from one of the Denyse Schmidt Collections for JoAnn's.  Pretty sure I got it in the remnant section!

This other piece is leftover from the backing of my nephew's quilt.  (My brother's in the Army, so I thought it made a nice tribute.)  It's also an older line, from Robert Kaufman - that's all I got, no selvedge left!  They did also make this series of fabric in Air Force blue, if that helps.

Linking up with Mila + Cuatro while Ms. Molli Sparkles is off jet-setting again!

Molli Sparkles

Saturday, February 22, 2014

February ALYOF goal complete!

My February goal for ALYOF was to finish the top of my QOV quilt.

Mission accomplished!

As I mentioned previously, I used a rail fence pattern with reds and blues for the "spaces" and white for the "rails."  Or is it the other way around?

Either way, I still have a few things to do before it's officially complete: I need to make a label and a presentation case, send it off for quilting and then sew the binding on.

One step at a time, right?

Linking up with the ALYOF linky party and with the Whoop-ers!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Stash #10 - Winnings!

If you're looking for my post about Aunt Edna, click here!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was lucky enough to win a door prize in the Quilts of Valor Foundation's National Sew Day.  I ended up getting to pick my prize from a couple different options and decided to go with some fabric and a pattern!

This fabric was all donated by Connecting Threads - "a scrappy, patriotic palette"  :-)

Also included was this "field of stars" from Embroidery Solutions.  They make most of the star fields for flags made in the USA.  (This bit of fabric didn't come from a finished flag - apparently there's a flaw somewhere so it couldn't be used.)  It's neat, but I'm not quite sure what to do with it...maybe a pillow with red and white stripes for the back?

Finally, my bundle came with this pattern from Swirly Girls Design called "Two Part Harmony."

In addition to these wins, I was also lucky enough to get selected as a winner for the January linky party of A Lovely Year of Finishes.  My prize was a pattern of my choice from Melissa at Sew BitterSweet Designs.  I decided on Dizzying Diamonds!
Pattern available here!

Linking up with travel-trouble plagued Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash!

Molli Sparkles

Vintage Wedding Ring Quilt and Aunt Edna

Katie, from Swim Bike, Quilt, is hosting a series on vintage quilts and was kind enough to feature my Aunt Edna's double wedding ring quilt today.  In my description to Katie I mentioned that Aunt Edna had many other crafty endeavors, and I thought I'd share those here.

But first, the lady herself:
A very young Aunt Edna with her husband, my Uncle Al.
Aunt Edna was also very big into other needle crafts, such as needlepoint and crochet.
I have several beautiful snowflakes and a holly doily for Christmas decorations.  I also have the books to make more, if I ever learn how to crochet!
Needlepoint rendition of the Lord's Prayer

 She was also into more 3D-type crafts and made two of these jewelry Christmas trees for the family.  They have various pieces of costume jewelry (bracelets, pins, earrings, etc.) and small "twinkle" lights that you can plug in.  Makes for quite the sparkly wall decoration.

In addition to having her quilt out and using it regularly, I also inherited some tiny snips that I keep by my sewing machine.  Next to my rotary cutter, mat and ruler, these are probably my most frequently used sewing accessory.
Tiny snips!
Thanks again to Katie for letting me share a bit of family history!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Really Random Thursday - a floor!!

We have icky, stained, shows-every-dog-hair beige carpet over most of the first floor of our house.  And where there's no carpet we have icky, waxed, scraped-through-in-places-and-burn-marks-in-other-places vinyl "tiles."  It's so discouraging to vacuum and scrub and vacuum and scrub, and yet the floor still looks dirty.

Needless to say, we have wanted (needed?) new floors since we bought the place.

Enter Lumber Liquidators.

We bought new laminate flooring (12 mm thick!  With a pad attached!) for the entire first floor, mid-stairway landing and second floor landing.  They were having a good sale with a nice financing option, so we decided to go for it.

We watch a lot of HGTV and DIY Network, so we're going to try installing it ourselves.  Yes, I know, we'll probably kill each other before the process is done, but the labor to install the floor would cost as much as the floor itself! 

And while we bought enough to do the kitchen floor, we're going to hold off on that part until we redo the whole kitchen. So that's one area of the house that won't be a disaster.  Although it'll probably be packed with stuff from the rest of the first floor...

I've thought about this a lot, and I think the steps involved will be:
1. Pop up quarter round molding around vinyl areas
2. Rip up carpet, carpet tacks and staples 
*Forgot one and too lazy to re-number: take out toilet and sink in half bath so floor can go in
3. Screw sub-floor down (it's only nailed down now and it's SO creaky!)
*Forgot another one: move outlet in the middle of the living room floor
4. Scrub baseboards
5. Paint baseboards
6. Trim up doorjambs so floor fits underneath
7. Install floor
8. All while trying not to kill each other
9. Take a week+ off to recover

Did I forget anything?  We really don't have a timeline for this project, but it's going to take more than a weekend for sure.  So for right now all the supplies are "acclimating" in our basement.

That's a lot of boxes!!
(These two photos are in the garage, as we had to hustle to unload and return the Home Depot truck we rented to transport it all home.  Everything's in the basement now.)

Anyone want to visit us in KY and have a floor-installing party?

Linking up with Really Random Thursday!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Bee-ing Social for WiP Wednesday - 5 rows to go...

I have been working steadily (for me, anyway) on my QoVF project.  I decided to stick with my random block layout, and so far I've got a 6-row section all sewn together and a 4-row section all sewn together.

This means I've got another 5 rows to go, which should be totally do-able by this weekend.

Do you like my classy painter's tape numbering system??
Admittedly, I did get kind of tired of sewing red, white and blue blocks, so I decided to make some progress on one of my Quarter 1 Finish Along goals - the Crafty Traveler Tote.  I had gotten the fabric all cut out (remember my cautionary rotary cutter tale!) a while ago, and then Sunday I cut out the interfacing.
All cut out and ready to go!
Yesterday evening I made the handles.

Handles of Doom

Not gonna lie, partway through turning the first one, I wanted to give up and strangle myself with it.  I don't have a "turning tool" so it was really slow going, especially considering these are LONG handles!  Fortunately, my husband took pity on me and did the second one himself.  He's pretty good at turning handles because I assigned him that task when I was making tote bags for the ladies in our wedding, so he's got a technique (or something).

Hopefully the rest of the bag will be easier!

Also sorry for the crappy photo quality - it's pretty impossible to take "nice" pictures during the week because it's still getting dark early-ish.

Linking up with Let's Bee Social and WiP Wednesday!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sunday Stash #9 - a serendipitous find

A couple of weekends ago I went to JoAnn's to get the interfacing I needed for my Crafty Traveler Tote, and of course I had to take a tour around to see if there was anything worth seeing and then coming home with.  As I scanned down the "nice quilting fabric" section, I spotted this:

This print is from Denyse Schmidt's Richmond collection, but I'm not sure of the name.  I thought it'd make a nice backing for my Florence Starburst (it's nice how the colors in Denyse's collections coordinate), so I took it up to the cutting counter.  The cutting lady was really chatty, and I guess she wasn't really paying attention because she cut me 5 yards instead of the 4 I had requested.  Then when I went to check out I was only charged for 1 yard instead of 5 or even 4!  I even said something to the cashier about the price not seeming right, but she just smiled and said that it was.  So I paid sale price for 1 yard of fabric instead of (possibly) retail price for 5 yards!  AND I had a gift card!  Cheapest quilt backing ever!!

I also picked up some of this coordinating print (Bakersfield plaid) for the binding:

Doesn't it all look nice together?

So even though I hadn't planned on doing much with my Florence Starburst flimsy for a while, at least I'm prepared!

Linking up with Kate Quilts for this week's Sunday Stash!

A Quarter 1 Finish

Not gonna lie, I'm putting this one under the "done is better than perfect" heading.

Finishing this little baby quilt was one of my Quarter 1 Finish Along goals.  It had been sitting in two pieces with its batting for way too long.  I even had a binding fabric all picked out.  So really there was no excuse.

I quilted it with light blue thread to match the back, and stitched between each of the little animal squares on the front.

The binding is attached by machine, which is how I do all my binding (I just don't have the patience for hand-quilting or hand-binding).

I'm really not sure why, because I thought I pinned the heck out of it and used my walking foot, but the fabric really pulled while I was quilting.  So now some of the rows are kind of zig-zaggy.  Hence the "done is better than perfect."

See the ziggity-zag?
I'm not sure the fate of this little quilt.  Given the zig-zaggy quilting, I might donate it to an organization that will appreciate it for its function more than the appearance.

But zig zag quilting or not, it counts as a finish!  Also linking up with Can I get a Whoop Whoop?!

UPDATE:  This little quilt is being donated through the Hands2Help charity quilt drive!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Really Random Thursday...and an embarrassing admission

A couple Sundays ago I finished my Florence Starburst quilt top and decided to cut the fabric pieces for the Crafty Traveler tote that's part of my Quarter 1 Finish Along goals.  Being the responsible crafter that I am, I switched out the blade on my rotary cutter before starting on the new project.  (Okay honestly, it should have been switched a while ago and I was finally fed up with having to hit those certain places more than once while cutting, you know?)

Even with the new blade I was having a horrible time!  The cutting was terrible!  It made a huge mess!
I thought maybe it was because this was not high quality fabric, but off the shelf stuff from Hobby Lobby a while back.  So I soldiered on and finished cutting.  By the end my rotary cutter was covered in fuzz:

Totally frustrated, I put things away for another day.  Fast forward to Saturday.  I had to cut my QoVF fabric, so I carefully started wiping the blade off.  As I cleaned things up I noticed that the blade seemed thicker than normal.  Investigating further, I discovered the problem.

I had put two blades on at once.  

I'm not even kidding.  Two blades.  On one cutter.  Oy.

The problem was that I bought a 5 pack of blades a while back, and they're all covered in lubricant-type stuff that is supposed to make them spin easily on the cutter, but also makes them stick to each other in that little yellow plastic box.  I thought I'd separated out one new one, but handling new rotary cutter blades also makes me nervous so I guess didn't pay close enough attention.

Lesson learned.

Linking up with Really Random Thursday, Fabric Frenzy Friday and Let's Bee Social so maybe someone else can learn from my embarrassing mistake!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

WiP Wednesday - Quilts of Valor edition

As I mentioned in my Sunday Stash post this week, I've got a Quilts of Valor project in process.  I'm using the Crossed Paths/Rail Fence tutorial from a Crafty Fox.  Here's my red, white and blue fabrics (Kona white not pictured):

I did tweak it a bit though, as the dimensions in that final project aren't large enough (QoVF recommends a finished size of 60"x80").  The directions in the tutorial are to cut 3 strips from each of 9 FQ, but I cut 6 strips (pretty much 0 waste!) from 10 FQ.  I also managed to calculate the yardage for the increase in "fence" strips correctly too - trust me, that was a mathematical miracle!

Each strip is then subcut into 3 pieces for a grand total of 180 six inch blocks.  If I've done my math right (fingers crossed) I'll have a 66" (12 blocks) by 82" (15 blocks) quilt top.

I strip-pieced my little heart out!
I've gotten (most) of the blocks on my design wall, but only 10 blocks fit across so I've got the last two rows hanging out on the ironing board.  I can't decide if a random distribution is best (what I've attempted so far - random is hard!) or if some kind of pattern along the diagonal would be more orderly and pleasing to the eye.  Not sure how that would work though, as there's an odd number (five) of each color.  Thoughts?

Finishing this top is going to be my February goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes.  Guess I'd better get busy - I've got 180 blocks to sew together!

Linking up with Work in Progress Wednesday and ALYoF!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sunday Stash #8 - Quilts of Valor Foundation edition

Yesterday, February 1, was the Quilts of Valor Foundation's National Sew Day.  I first heard about Quilts of Valor from my blog reading and have thought about donating a quilt for a while now.  My brother is in the military and I like the idea of supporting organizations that support our military (active duty and veterans) and their families.  So I barely squeaked my registration in under the deadline and planned to be at my LQS by 9:30 am on Saturday so that I could purchase my fabric.  I selected several different quilt pattern options from my Quilts board on Pinterest as I wasn't sure what kind of fabric I'd end up using.  There weren't really any patriotic collections available (understandable given that it's not summertime) so I decided on a pattern that used fat quarters.  Here's what I came up with:
along with Kona White
I sewed for most of the afternoon and evening and have made good progress on my quilt top - 180 blocks made and ready to be sewn together.  I'll definitely keep at it because 1) I really do want to finish and donate it; and 2) I won a door prize for National Sew Day!  No idea what it is, but a free prize is never a bad thing, right?  And for those that are interested, I'll do a progress post for this week's WiP Wednesday.

Linking up with Sunday Stash with Molli Sparkles!

Molli Sparkles