Monday, December 20, 2010

Crochet Hand Warmers

I came across the website Ravelry and got incredibly inspired by all the fantastic projects and patterns.  I have always wanted to try knitting and crocheting but because of my problem with my left hand and arm I didn't think I could do it.  I'm still not sure about knitting, but I found a way to crochet!  That makes me pretty happy for sure.  I made my first project today:

These are just practice for now.  The left one I made with a size H hook, and the right one a size J.    My sister (my hand model for today)  and I both like the one made with the smaller H hook better, but I think they would be better longer.  This pattern is so, so cute!

I'm glad I was able to find a way to crochet.  I'm excited to do many more projects!  

I have to share this with you guys as well, as it made me laugh.  I apologize in advance for my sister, but she got really tired of hand modeling...

Guess it's time to find a new model.  

I probably won't post again before Christmas so I'd like to wish all of you a very merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WIP Wednesday

I was fairly productive this week... yay!

~I got some hexies basted for my Grandmother's Flower Garden project.

~If you look at yesterday's post you can see that I machine quilted something for the very first time!  This was my first attempt at a mug rug.  The quilting went really well...the binding on the other hand... oopsy!  I still haven't un-sewn it yet, but I'll get to it.  

~On my Fandango Log Cabin project, I was productive, but then got discouraged again.  I have 15 log cabin blocks completed, and I felt like I needed more blocks, but I didn't have any more Jelly roll strips.  So I decided to at some more simple blocks to tone down the busy-ness of the log cabin blocks.  This is what I came up with:

Excuse the random straight pin on the block... my cat batted it onto the block right as I snapped the picture!  Here's where I really need your advice! Do you like the simple block next to the log cabin??  Is the white too white?  The white in the fandango fabric is more of an off white, but I've seen fandango paired with white successfully before.  I just don't know!!  

~The Moose on the Porch layer cake quilt along (see button on the right) I finished block #4 this morning at around 4am.  I really like how this one turned out.  I'm so enjoying this quilt along.  The blocks are so much fun and I'm so in love with this Happy fabric!

So, that was my week :)  I hope everyone had a wonderful past week! Happy WiP Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Every fail is a learning opportunity...right?

I posted about a wall hanging I'm working on last week.  I was going to use that to practice my first machine quilting.  After getting it all put together, though, I didn't want it to be my first attempt, because I figured I'd mess it up.  So I decided to throw together a little mug rug and quilt that first.  

It actually went together very easily, especially since I just used scraps from my stash.  I used my walking foot to quilt straight lines about a half an inch apart.  I used the thread that I want to use on my wall hanging so  I could get the feel of it.  I think the quilting itself went pretty well.  

Not the prettiest thing in the world, but its just a practice run.  

So then today I decided to bind this little mug rug.   I measured, cut, pressed, and pinned... everything set.  The sewing itself went really well with my walking foot.  And when I was done I went to pin the binding to the other side and start my hand sewing... Then I realized something was a bit wrong...

Fail!  I don't think I was supposed to sew that flap down - ha ha!  It was my first try, so  I guess I can't kick myself too hard.  So now my seam ripper and I have a date later.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Great Give Away!

I found this great give away and wanted to share it with my readers (and get another chance to win hehe).  Head over to Stray Stitches and enter.  It's a "mostly complete set of Thimbleberries Quilt Club 2006 BOM Quilt Kit"!  Isn't that a great give away?  I think so!  Thanks Linda!

WIP Wednesday

I tend to plan things, but never really get them done lol.  Life gets in the way, or I get distracted by some other project.  I was supposed to go to North Dakota this week where I was going to get a lot done on my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt.  Neither of those things happened.  My trip (and my progress) is rescheduled for later this month.

The only WIP I have to report this week is this:

It's a wall hanging that I measured out for a specific place on my wall (that's why it's long and skinny).  I love these fabrics!   I'm going to use it to practice quilting with my machine, which I've never attempted before.  I'm just going to do straight lines either horizontally or vertically, I haven't decided yet.

I did get some decorating done, the lights are up on the house and the trees are both up and lit, they are just waiting for ornaments.

Hope everyone had a more productive week than I did!

Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm still here....

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, I swear!!  My boyfriend, Eddie, was in town this week (he is only in town one week at a time since he works out of state) so I was spending as much time with him as possible.  I've also been feeling really crappy so I haven't been doing much quilting.  Eddie did surprise me with 2 dozen roses yesterday - so that made me feel better :)  He's amazing.

I did get some quilting done late last night, which I will post pictures of when it looks like something other than stacks of squares.  Its a mini quilt that I'm making to practice my machine quilting - which I've never done before!  

I have had a chance to look at some blogs, and everyone's productivity is very inspiring!  Tomorrow I will get the house decorated for Christmas. (Thats what I keep telling myself) We've got both trees up, just not decorated yet and all the boxes of decorations for the house are out, just not put up.  So I'm half way there!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

To my readers...

This will be a personal post, but one I want to share with my readers, to say thank you.

First, a bit of background:  I was born with a condition called lymphangioma.  When I was born it wasn't so bad, but I did have a few surgeries and some pain.  In 2007 I had a follow up surgery to address some issues that needed to be corrected.  Unfortunately complications from that surgery have left me with debilitating pain, blood clots and the loss of most of the use of my left hand.  I had to quit my 5 year banking job, and grew apart from many of my friends.  I don't expect people to understand constant pain, and I know its hard to believe me when I cancel plans all the time because of it.

So the last year or so, I've felt very alone.  Then, a few months ago, I discovered that I loved quilting.  I don't even know why I started, or what inspired me at first, but I knew the minute I picked up my first fat quarter that I was in love.  I started getting out of bed more, just to sew for even 15 minutes if thats all I could manage.  I feel creative and productive for the first time in over a year.

Then I started blogging.  I've always loved to write, but I didn't have anything to write about that I felt others would like to read.  Now that I've discovered the online quilting community I don't feel so alone any more.  It might sound cheesy, but it's how I truly feel.  Not only do I have people to share my work with, but every day I find a new blog with ideas and beautiful works of art from people who have something in common with little ol' me.

So to my readers, I say thank you.  And to those who blog, thank you too.  I have something to look forward to daily now.  Even as I sit here in pain I can read others' blogs and get lost in the beautiful projects that I see.  Its so good to have something I can focus on beside my disability.

Ok, enough sappy stuff - just wanted to thank the people who need thanking in my life!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WIP Wednesday

Happy December!

Well it's 3 am, so it's technically Wednesday, so its time for a WiP post.  So far my week has consisted of:

Fandango Jelly Roll Quilt:  Has been put away in frustration.  I looked at the fabric store and just couldn't find a solid (even the white looked funny) that complimented it.  Then I found a print that was tone on tone that looked great color wise, but it was butterflies...which doesn't really go with the "Spanish pottery" type look that the Fandango fabric has.  But I'm sure if I put it away for a few weeks, and stop looking at it so much I'll find something that looks great.

Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt: I'm happy to say I found some great fabrics for my flowers this week.

My goal for this week will be to get two more 'flowers' completed.  I'm working at a pace of about one per week and if I'm going to do 49 of these darn things I'm going to have to pick up the pace if I want to get done within a year of starting it!

Layer Cake Quilt Along: This week I did all 3 blocks for the quilt along at Moose on the Porch Quilts, since I just joined.  I just completed #3 about 20 minutes ago.  I love these "Happy" fabrics by Me and My Sister designs.  Every fabric is great in my layer cake!  Here is block #3

I thought about the fabrics in this one a lot and I'm glad I decided on the purple.  Purple is one of my favorite colors, and I really like how this turned out.  Now I just have to be patient and wait for the next block to be posted in 2 weeks.  Here are my 3 blocks together:

So that was pretty much my week.. We have about 2 feet of snow so far this week, with more falling right now.  It's a great way to start December!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

LC Quilt Along Block 2

It's 3:30 am, and I am done with block #2 for the Layer Cake Quilt Along at Moose on the Porch Quilts.  Being a night owl really does have it's benefits! :)  Plus, it's so much easier to get a lot done after midnight.  Everyone (including the 3 dogs and 3 cats) is sleeping and there are far less distractions.  My favorite thing is putting my netflix on next to the sewing machine and just sewing for a few hours.  

Anyway, this is what I got done tonight.  These are my very first half square triangles.  I had a bit of stretching, which I've heard is common, and they aren't perfect, but I really like the block.  I originally was going to do light orange where the green is, but I like the green a lot.  I'm glad I went with it instead.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Layer Cake Quilt Along catch up

I made it to the quilt store today!! Yay. Except I apparently didn't have a good enough plan because I had no idea what to get when I got there.  I did pick up a layer cake (see below) and a few more fat quarters for my Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks.  I did find out that Glacier Quilts carries the Hoffman screen prints I was looking for, so I'm really happy about that. They also sell one of my 'to do' patterns in a kit.  Yay!  

So I came across the Layer Cake Quilt Along last week, and I couldn't resist joining the fun!  I am a couple of weeks behind so I'm playing catch up right now.  I just finished the 1st block:

Yes, yes my appliqué is a little bit off, but I'm ok with it. It's the first appliqué I've ever done.  I am really excited about this quilt along, it's the first I've ever done, too!  

I got a "Happy" layer cake, and the fabric are so cute!!  I'm going to try to get the 2nd block done tonight so I'm all caught up with the quilt along when they post the new block tomorrow.  I put the button on the right side of my blog so if you want to join the fun, just click that button!  

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cuddled up but productive

Well the 26 degree weather and horrible roads have had me cuddled up on the couch with my heated blanket today.  I did manage to get something done tonight though.  I've been working on my next block for my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt.

I absolutely love the color orange!  I was really excited about this fabric when I bought it, and it turned out really pretty with the fairy frost.  

So someone pointed out the black strings on one of my earlier posts.  They are basting threads and you don't take them out until the end.  I'm probably more paranoid about my stuff than some people and I don't want to take them out until the last minute.  I have 49 of these to make, and only 3 done.  I think they will keep their shape much better if I keep the papers and basting in.  

Just in case your curious this is what the back looks like:

You can click on the picture to see it bigger and look at the detail.  

In honor of my orange block I thought I'd post a picture of my big orange kitty!

This is his usual spot waiting for me to feed him while I'm sewing.  Well I'm now off to finish some paper work and hopefully get to bed.  Night!

Didn't quite go as planned

So I was going to go to the fabric store on Saturday... but between the amount of pain I was in and the inches and inches of snow, I didn't make it :(.  But tomorrow is a new day and I finally got my arm to stop hurting quite as bad.  Tomorrow my plan is to get a layer cake for the layer cake quilt along, and to get fabric for another project I want to start.  

Does anyone have one of the Accuquilt Go! Fabric cutters?  I was wondering how well they work.  I have a disability that causes my left arm and hand not to work very well, and to have a lot of pain.  Rotary cutting is getting nearly impossible.  All I can say is yay for pre cuts!  If anyone has one, let me know how well it works, I'd love to know.  It's a pretty big investment but I think if it works well it would be worth it.

Anyway, I just wanted to share a quick update, hopefully my pain will stay away so I can go get some new fabric tomorrow!  Happy stitching!

Friday, November 26, 2010

New layout!

Ok, I've changed my layout and hopefully this makes it easier to post comments and link to things.  The other one wasn't working as well as I'd liked it to.  I love the color orange, and I think this new layout is really pretty.  If you see any problems please leave me a comment and let me know!!  

I'm currently printing out a couple of patterns to take with me to the quilt shop tomorrow.  I have so many patterns, I need to actually make some of them now. Hope everyone has a great night!

Merry Made Quilts Giveaway

Free stuff rocks!  :)

I just entered to win 9 beautiful fat quarters over at Merry Made Quilts to celebrate Rebecca's 100th post!  Cross your fingers... the colors are so summery and beautiful.  In this winter wonderland they would remind me of summer!  If you want to enter just go over to Merry Made Quilts  and leave a comment or a link in your blog and comment to let Rebecca know.  Yay for give aways!! 

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I hope everyone had an awesome Thanksgiving!  I had some amazing food, and got to play an exciting game of trivial pursuit... which is always fun with my family.  

Me (brunette) with my little sister (blonde)

Yummy pies!!

Now that Thanksgiving is over I'll be able to get back into my projects.  I have until Dec 1st to get my birthday month discount at Glacier Quilts so I've been obsessing about finding my next project.  I have a gift card there, so I'd like to buy the fabric for my next project before the 1st so  I can get the most for my money.  I have all of my patterns from magazines in big binders, and dozens of patterns downloaded on my computer.   I've been looking through all of them over and over to find my next perfect project.  

I think I've finally decided on one, as long as my local quilt store has fabric that will work for it.  I got some amazing patterns over at for free to download.  I hope to get fabric to put together the "Glacier Moon" pattern.  I'm in love with a lot of the patterns available on this site.  

I'm not doing any 'Black Friday' shopping, so I'm hoping to get to the quilt stores on Saturday.  I'll make sure I post pictures of all the new fabric I get.  Brand new cuts of fabric are my favorite part of quilting!  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

WIP Wednesday

So this week my hand has been giving me a lot of issues, so my hand sewing Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt has been put away for a few days.  That did give me the opportunity to work on my other project.  I have been making a simple log cabin block with a jelly roll I purchased.  I think a lot of people have used this "Fandango" fabric, I've seen it in lots of projects lately (some really cool ones too!). 

Initially, I really loved the idea of this quilt.  Then I sewed a few blocks, and I didn't love it any more.  Then after getting to this point, I'm starting to really like it again. I go back and forth.  The pattern I'm following doesn't have sashing, but I'm almost thinking these blocks need a white sashing of some sort.  Any one have any ideas?  

This week I got these blocks sewn, and a few more unsewn that I wasn't satisfied with so I feel like I made some progress, especially for the amount of pain I've been in.  I'd love any imput on this, if you hate it, tell me, if you love it, tell me... please!!  I can't decide how I feel and I know there is an option out there that will make me love it.  The fabrics are great, the pattern is simple... I just need those final details!

Monday, November 22, 2010

26 goals

I posted these as a stand alone page as well that you can find the link to on the right side of my blog but I thought I'd put them here too... these are my goals for this year:

26 Things to Do While I’m 26

1 Finish Grandmother’s Flower Garden Quilt
2 Do a full 90 days straight of p90x
3 Get a new tattoo
4 Read at least 20 books
5 Learn to make pie crust from scratch
6 Watch the 5th season of Bones
7 Find another favorite author
8 Learn how to appliqué (hand and machine)
9 Travel to a state I’ve never been to before
10 Complete a quilt to give as a gift
11 Write more poetry
12 Visit Yellowstone National Park
13 Move into a new house
14 Check this list often, and finish all goals before November 19, 2011
15 Go to a concert
16 Pay off all my credit card debt
17 Watch Mike and Molly and The Big Bang Theory on Thursdays
18 Read “Lucifer at the Starlite” by Kim Addonizio
19 Lose 20 pounds
20 Finally see The Lord of the Rings movies
21 See a play at the Bigfork place house
22 Keep up with my blogging
23 Make a handbag I’ll actually use
24 Take more pictures
25 Take a quilting class
26 Take a vacation to the Oregon coast

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Go Griz!!

Today is the 110th meeting of the Griz and Cats... if you're from Montana you know what that means, if you're not I'm not sure there are words to describe the rivalry.  I went to the University of Montana and my loyalty definitely is to the Griz!!!  My crazy dad is at the game, 18 degree weather and blowing snow.  It's only 5 minutes in, but it is already a nail biter!!  Just had to take a moment and say:


Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!!

Well my birthday celebration just finished up, and it was fantastic :)  I really do have a wonderful family.  I got new Gingher knife edge sewing scissors!  Yay!!  I also got a gift certificate to our local quilt store, Glacier Quilts.  I'm excited to decide what my next project will be so I can spend my gift card on some new gorgeous fabrics!  Plus since it's my birthday month I get a discount at Glacier Quilts, so my gift card will go even farther.  

Louie seems to approve of my gifts as well :)

On another note, I have been working on my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt some too.  I've been having some bad pain days due to the weather, so it's slow going.  I really like this 2nd block I finished though, it turned out great.

I think I forgot to mention in my last post that all those black threads are basting threads and are holding the paper pieces in place.  They will stay in for stability until I sew the next rows on and sew the flowers together.

So it's been a good week.  I'm working on an orange flower next.  Orange is a favorite of mine, so I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished project. :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

English Paper Piecing

I'll admit it - I'm in love with English paper piecing!!  It sounds very time consuming (actually it is very time consuming) but it is totally worth the effort.  If you aren't familiar with the process, it is, in essence, using paper pieces to stabilize fabric for hand piecing.  I'm working on a "Grandmother's Flower Garden" quilt right now.  I started about a month ago, and I have quite a bit of fabric gathered, but not so much sewn.  I did get one "flower" completed:

I'm really happy with how this turned out.  I completed one block first, just to test measurements and such.  It came out to 8 x 8.75 inches, which is what I calculated it should be before I started.  Yay for doing my math right!! I have found that many of these quilts (including the one my grandma is working on) are done in 1930's reproduction fabric - but I wanted my design to have a more modern design.  

I chose random fat quarters printed in all over large florals for the outside ring, and Michael Miller "Fairy Frost" fabric for the inner ring.  If you haven't seen the Fairy Frost fabric... it is beautiful.  It's got a metallic added to it for a wonderful sparkle!  Who doesn't love a good sparkle?  I found the Fairy Frost at my local quilt store Glacier Quilts in great 5" pre cut squares in 50 colors. 

Some of the blue Fairy Frost fabrics
50 different colors in each package!

I found if I cut these squares in quarters, I have the perfect size to use for my hexagons.  I plan on also buying some yardage of the Fairy Frost colors I like the most, but I haven't thought that far ahead just yet.  

I also found these pre-cut hexagons at Glacier Quilts

They are very accurate and are made out of a what I assume is card stock so they hold up really well to folding and repeated stitching.  I also found out that they iron really well, so after finishing my "flower" above, I was able to press it very flat and it was really pretty.  You can also order these here along with tons of other great pre-cut paper pieces.  I absolutely love anything that makes my quilting easier and more accurate!

I must add: having a good assistant is essential to the quilting process.  This is Louie, he's the best assistant a girl could ask for!  (Except when everything I own is covered in little bits of Louie fluff)

If you are looking for some great directions on how to do English paper piecing I found these sites to be most helpful:

I will post more pictures as I work on this project.  I find it extremely therapeutic so I tend to work on it quite a bit.  If you have pictures or links pertaining to English paper piecing or flower garden quilts, I'd love to see them!  Happy piecing!