Sunday, November 27, 2011

Call to action ...

Denyse Schmidt's Blanket Statement
I tried to make the "Blanket Statement" from Denyse Schmidt's book "Quilts" several months ago.

The premise is that you take an old wool blanket and update it by sewing on strips of colored/patterned fabric.  I thought it would be perfect for the cabin.   I am not sure I would recommend the project.

I started with a $4.99 blanket, cut it in half to make it a lap quilt and applied the material.  The challenge is that the blanket stretches and you can imagine how that turns out ...

I had applied the fabric back in early summer, didn't like how it ended up and decided not to invest anymore time.

Then I read an article this week.  There are an estimated 600 people living in cars in Seattle.  It was a number that stunned me.  Their stories stunned me.  It was a sharp contrast to the weekend we've just had here in the U.S. -- one that starts with counting our reasons to be thankful ... and one that seems to end with a bit too much conspicuous consumption over the Black Friday weekend.  

A local organization, "Heroes for the Homeless" is holding a drive for coats, sweaters, mittens, sleeping bags, blankets, etc.   If you're living in your car ... a wool blanket is a lot more important than a pretty blanket.  So I bound it and finished it up yesterday.

It's that time of year ... and I encourage everyone to take a look through their closets (linen, front hall and clothing) and find those warm items that just aren't getting used and can be better utilized by someone in need.  I would also recommend that you look one step beyond Goodwill right now.  While I love their business model and think it works well, today, in this economy, there is a real need out there for some basic items for free.  Some of these folks are making decisions to stay warm or to eat.  Decisions that no one should have to make.

Thanks for taking a peek and remembering those that are struggling right now ...

All the best
Lisa

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Placemats and Potholders

Each set = 4 placemats & 2 potholders
Four sets complete ... three more in various states of production ... glad it's still only November 22nd!

This is probably my favorite set ...


It's for John's 30-something son who is a bachelor ... I was trying to go a little more masculine ... 
and now I want it for me!

Hope your holiday creations are coming along equally well!

All the best!
Lisa

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Need a little advice ...



Update:  Thanks everyone ... initials it is!

I am blessed with 4 lovely nieces!  For Christmas this year, I splurged a little at Pink Chalk Fabrics on some 1/2 yard cuts from the new Lotta Jansdotter line ... along with a little Metro Living to make them some pillows for their rooms.

So here's where I need help.  My original plan, before I picked out the material, was to make them each a pillow with their names on them.  They are aged 13, 16, almost 17 and almost 20.

I was thinking of personalizing them along the lines of these pillows I made this summer.
But then I bought the fabric ... and I'm wondering if that would really fit with this material?  Or should I go ahead and make the pillows without their names?  I'm torn and would value some thoughts (particularly from anyone who has insight into teenage girls ;-).

Thanks
All the best
Lisa

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Placemat tutorial

Placemats
As I posted here, I had a few of these to make ... and as I indicated in my previous post, I have completed 16 out of the 28 needed for this years Christmas bundles.

I got a late start for a variety of reasons ... but one was that I didn't actually know how to make a placemat ... and as I learned from my pot holders ... just treating it like a mini-quilt does not always work.

So I decided to put together at tutorial for anyone else out there that might be trying to figure this out ...

The tutorial is not about how to design the front of the placemat.  As I had previously mentioned, the inspiration for my placemats this year was Kate at Needle and Spatula.  But rather, the tutorial focuses on how to put the place mat together.

First, I start with the excess batting I have laying around from making quilts and cut a piece for each placemat.
15" x 20" batting
Then lay the back of the placemat onto the batting -- if you're using a print, you'll want the wrong side of the fabric to face the batting.
14" x 19" back of placemat (right-side up)
Then lay the top of the placemat onto the back -- in this case you want to put the right side down towards the backing material.
14" x 19" front of placemat (wrong side up) pinned
Sew 1/4" from edge of fabric, leaving an opening on one of the long sides of the place mat that is large enough to get your hand into (you will need to turn it right side out).
Open seam seen at top
Trim the excess batting and clip the corners.
Trimming
Clipping the corners
You will then need to turn the place mats inside out.  Pushing the corners out as much as you can with your finger.

Right-side out placemat
Then I use a letter opener to finish pushing out the corners (be careful here not to push to hard and rip the fabric).  

Then gently iron around the perimeter, getting the fabric to lay flat and closing up the opening you used to turn it right-side out.  
Ironed (you can see opening on bottom left)
I then stitch about 1/8" of an inch from the edge -- this ensures that you get the opening caught and closed to avoid fraying later.  I have also been shifting the needle one notch to the right (as opposed to keeping it central).  This gets me that much closer to the edge.
Stitching close to the edge
I performed two rounds of perimeter stitching, as in my inspiration placemat.  

Perimeter stitching
I also did some straight line quilting ... which you can see front and back below.
Quilted Top
Quilted back
Let me know if you have any clarity questions.

All the best
Lisa

Place mat Progress!!

Rainbow of quilted placemats
16 completed ... 12 to go!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

10 Amazing years ...

You've come a long way baby ...
How lucky am I ?!?!?
For those of you who follow this blog ... you've heard me reference this anniversary before ... well ... it's here!

Ten years ago today, November 14th, they removed at tumor that was the size of a grapefruit from my abdomen.  It was stage IIc Ovarian Cancer ...

I am alive today because of three WONDERFUL doctors (Drs. Hambrick, Stern and Cecchi) who saw me through surgery and chemotherapy.

I am the luckiest women around because of them and because of the fabulous man I am married to!!!  We will celebrate 16 years of marriage on Friday of this week.

Ten years ... WOW ... I am so amazingly grateful ...

But I cannot forget the 154,000 women in the U.S. who have died of Ovarian Cancer in those 10 years ... or the 5,564,900 other Americans who will have succumbed to cancer over those 10 years ...

I will run my first (and likely last ;-) half marathon in honor of those folks in May.

In the interim, I am so happy that I can count 10 years in my list of life accomplishments ...

Have a great week!

All the best
Lisa

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Veterans Day ...

... or Remembrance Day ... where ever you are ... take a minute to say thanks ...

Thanks Dad (Vietnam) ... Thanks Patrick (brother, Iraq & Afghanistan) ... Thanks Brian (brother-in-law who gave the ultimate sacrifice in Cyprus) ...

Thanks to all the men and women who have served ...

Quilted placemat

Quilted placemat
I am getting a bit faster on the pot holders ... so decided to try coordinating placemats to go along with them ... this was my first attempt ... which is now off the docket as 1" squares are a bit ambitious for a 'quick' effort.


I used this as my inspiration.

I will keep this one and after the holidays finish out the set for me!  But in the interim, I need to try a couple of options this evening for a band of color that will be fun, but not quite as complex as 60 1" squares.

Hope your holiday gift creation is going a bit more expediently ;-()

oh ... and I almost forgot ... welcome Mary ... my 100th follower!!!  Who knew?!?!?

All the best
Lisa

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Late start for Christmas ...

I hadn't originally planned on making Christmas this presents ... but I've now decided that I do want to have some of our presents come from the heart this year ... so the theme is around the kitchen and coffee, tea and some of John's home-made biscotti ...

So this weekend I made the trial and first set of potholders to go in the package.
I actually think that they came out better than the photos imply ...
This set is reversible and will go in the package with the Scattered Blocks quilt for my friend Patricia ... as she has also just moved from TX to CA, so this will be a little something for the new house.  One is made from the colors in the quilt and the other from coordinating fabrics in the scrap bin.

I searched long and hard for a potholder pattern and finally landed on this one by Texas Freckles.  It was designed to be fast ... though I think it's still taking longer to make these than I want ... I like the self-binding option and it makes a nice thickness with the right level of heat protection.

Most importantly ... this is a GREAT scrap buster!

Hope everyone is having a good weekend.

All the best
Lisa

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Scattered Blocks Finale

And it's done!  From inception to completion ... in two weeks!  It's been a while since I pushed one out that fast ... but I was really enjoying the process of pulling this one together!

I liked it so much ... I actually have a second one I'm pulling together at the same time!  The back is pretty simple.

This quilt is for a dear friend, Patricia, that joins the 50-year young club next week!

Quilt by the numbers:

  • 120 5.5" white squares with 3 different sizes of colored squares
  • All Kona solid fabrics (except 1):
    • Paprika
    • Curry 
    • Moda Belle Solids Ochre
    • Raisin
    • Butterscotch
    • Moss
    • Amber 
    • Brown
    • Celery
    • Off white background and back
  • Pieced binding
  • Finished dimensions 58" x 48"
  • Tight meandering quilting with off-white thread
There is a tutorial under way ...

Thanks for stopping by ... 

All the best
Lisa


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bloggers' Quilt Festival ...

Always delighted when Amy gives us an extra chance to showcase our favorites! (and if anyone can help me figure out how to get her button into my post ... that would be awesome) .


As much as I wanted to share my new Scattered Block quilt which is fresh out of the dryer ... my camera is in Toronto with my husband as he meets his new grand daughter ... and it won't be back before the deadline ... so here, is my 2nd favorite quilt this year, which I recently finished (sorry for the duplicate post for my regular readers ;-).
My version of a wonky star quilt
It's for a good friend who played a role in my getting my latest job ... and it's a small way to say thanks!


A WIP capture

It took several months to pull all the stars together ... and my learning on this one was that if I walked away from it and worked on other things, I got more creative when I came back.  I found that each time I made stars, I tended to make similar ones, by letting a week or two go by between working on it, I ended up with more diversity in my blocks, which I believe is what makes the quilt work.

My favorite block
The quilt by the numbers:
  • 30, 12.25" blocks (5 wide by 6 tall)
  • 6 empty blocks (negative space)
  • Stars ... several different sizes -- small medium and large.
  • Kona Ash is the core background color
  • Multiple print blocks
  • Really tight meandering quilting with a light gray thread
  • Pieced binding
Block detail

Binding
Back of quilt
Overall, I was thrilled with how the quilt came out and I hope that Nichole and her family get LOTS of quality use from it over the coming years!

Thanks for visiting!
Lisa

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