Wednesday, May 30, 2012

WiP Wednesday #10

Well, my Swoon mini quilt that I had hoped to have done by this week has been put on the back burner for a bit.  Big shocker, I know.  But I REALLY don't want to do my usual meander or straight line quilting on it, so I am trying to decide what to do on it.  I want to branch out a little in my quilting, but I also feel like I need to plan a lot more for this, and not just shove it under the needle and go like I am able to when I do meandering.
  So while I am deciding, I decided to work on a couple more pressing projects.
The first one I worked on was the totes for my sons' preschool teachers.

Teacher totes - in progress
Teachers Totes: I will be embroidering their names between the handles, above the pink base.
I took the boys to the fabric store (which is always a fun experience) and let them (kindof) pick out the fabric for them. 
Then I cut them both out and got one done up to the point of embroidering the name on. 
Unfortunately, I am NOT a math whiz and I didn't get enough interfacing initially (nor the SECOND time, either!), so the other one has not been constructed up to that point yet, and I want to get them both to the point of embroidery before I pull out the embroidery module.
And that is why neither tote is done yet, even though the pattern I am using is SUPER EASY.  However, I'm pretty sure these will turn out darling.  I'm excited to get them finished and see the final product.
The second project I took on this week is a gift for a friend who is expecting her third boy (Yay for boys!!)
baby rag stack
I'm pretty sure she doesn't read my blog, but I still don't want to say much about it here until it is done.  She is due soon, however, so this is my most pressing project.  I'm hoping to have it done and shipped by this weekend.  We will see. 

So that leaves me with these stats:

WiP's finished - 0

New WiP's - 2
Teacher's Totes
Baby gift

WiP's worked on - 2
WiP's NOT worked on: 4
Swoon mini quilt
Denim Rag Quilt
Star Baby Quilt

On the back burner/not started yet:
Bed quilt
Christmas Stockings
Secret gift #1
Secret gift #2

Total = 10

Linking up to Lee @ Freshly Pieced!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

WiP Wednesday #9

First off, I just want to say how much I have enjoyed looking at all the quilts that were submitted to the Blogger's Quilt Festival this past weekend!  I have truly been inspired.

And thank you to those that took the time to come check out my little offering. :)

Now onto WiP's!

The only thing I worked on this week was my Swoon Mini quilt. 

Borders added

I got the borders pieced and sewn on.  Pretty, huh?? 

I was going to try and have it all sandwiched and ready to quilt, but then I discovered that I don't have any large pieces of batting left.

(Speaking of, I really need to think of a better way to store/organize my batting.  Shoving it all in a large plastic bag just isn't cutting it!)

So I suppose it is off to JoAnns for me today.  They have batting 40% off this week.  I would really like to get this quilt done this next next week.

My only other issue with it, however, is I have NO idea how to quilt it!  I need to decide, however, because I don;t want this just sitting around while I fail to make decisions.  I could do the typical all over meander, but I really don't think I am feeling that for this quilt.  I thought about doing close-together straight lines vertically, but I'm not sure that's how I want to go, either.  I just don't know.

In other WiP News...

I've also decided to put my bed quilt on the back burner.  I need to find new fabric for it, and I am going to wait until I go back out to Utah in July so I can actually go look at fabric in person.

I also need to start thinking about when to make Christmas Stockings.  I made the Tree Skirt last year, and my goal was to have our Christmas stockings done this year.  So I am adding those to the back burner list, too.  "Back burner" meaning, I suppose, stuff that I want to make in the near future but they are only in the preparation stage.

One other project that I am thinking I need to get started on if I want to get them done in time is a teacher gift for my twins Preschool teachers.  I am thinking of doing embroidered tote bags similar to this one.

Other things I have been thinking about that I want to add to my TO DO list are secrets!  I have at least two ideas for Christmas gifts for people that I need to start deciding on, as well.  But again, I am waiting till I get to Utah to decide on the specifics of those.


WiP's finished - 0

New WiP's - 0
(but thinking of adding teacher's totes this week)
WiP's worked on - 1
#1 - Swoon mini quilt

Wip's NOT worked on:
WiP #2 -Denim Rag Quilt
WiP #3 - Star Baby Quilt
WiP #4 - Pillows

On the back burner:
Bed quilt
Christmas Stockings
Secret gift #1
Secret gift #2

Linking, as usual, to Lee over at Freshly Pieced! - (link in my sidebar)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bloggers Quilt Festival - Piper's Pink Garden

Amy's Creative Side

This is my very first entry into the Blogger's Quilt Festival. I call it "Piper's Pink Garden".

Piper's Pink Garden
I really wish I had more (better!) pictures of it, but I made this before I started blogging, so no close-ups, I'm afraid.

It is only the third actual pieced quilt that I had made, and the first quilt I dared to do any real free-motion quilting on.  And my previous pieced quilts were very simple.  This quilt was really a step up for me.

For those reasons alone it is a pretty special quilt for me - but there is more to the story of why I love it.

A little backstory:

I currently live in the beautiful state of Virgina.  But before that, I lived in a military town in North Carolina for five years.  Duriing that time, I made some very wonderful friends.  Better friends, at least in my opinion, than I could ever dream of meeting anywhere else.  Maybe partly because we were all military wives and we "got" each other and the situation we were in together, but I think more because God put these awesome ladies in my life to help with the lonliness of being a military wife with a deployed spouse. Either way, I totally feel blessed to know them.

Anyway, my BFF in North Carolina is Jenn.  I won't go into all the reasons I love her, let me just say that I do.  Dearly.

When I found out I was pregnant with my youngest son, she fell pregnant also.  Our due dates were less than a month apart.  I loved having a best friend that was pregnant at the same time!  We could commiserate together on the pains of being pregnant and semi-spouseless.   

Unfortunately, at about 5 months, my friend lost her baby.  It was hard and I felt really bad that I was still having a relatively uneventful, healthy pregnancy.  Fortunately, it didn't damage our friendship and about a month after I had Finn, she told me she was pregnant again. 

The most horrible part, however, was that I was moved to Virginia just as she told me.  So I was not able to be there to help her through her pregnancy while her husband was gone for a year-long deployment. 

Once she was over the hump, and felt more confident that this pregnancy was going to go full-term, she agreed to let another friend and I throw her a baby shower.  I knew I wanted to giver her a personal gift, for her because she is a beautiful friend, and also for her miracle baby whom she had worked so hard to get here safely.  So even though I was still relatively new to quilting, I decided I would make her a baby quilt. 

Her quilt was the biggest quilting project I had done to that point.  I wanted it to be perfect.
I knew I wanted it to have some kind of butterfly/garden theme and looked online forever deciding on the perfect fabric (Dream On by Urban Chiks), which was just out of print at the time and getting a bit hard to find.  I started with a simple charm pack, and ended up scouring the internet to purchase fabric at least 3 more times to find the pieces I needed/wanted before I was happy with how it turned out!

Piper's Pink Garden

And  I was happy - thrilled! - with how it turned out!

  I thought then, and still do think it is such a pretty, perfect quilt for a sweet baby girl.  And my friend LOVED it, which made me happy, because, honestly, I was a little nervous to give it to her!  I wasn't sure if she would like it, and, as I said, it was my first time really doing an entire quilt in free motion, so my confidence in my skills was not the highest.

I love this quilt.  I love who it went to.  I love that I was able to put so much love and time and effort into it, and that the love was felt and received.  This is probably still, my favorite quilt I have ever made.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

WiP Wednesday #8 - Finally, I Swooned

Swoon 1

Yes, I finally managed to finish a Swoon block! 

I really like it.  But I have decided it is not what I want for my bedroom. is perfect for my living room!  So I have decided to turn this one into a mini quilt/wall hanging.  Last night I stayed up way too late adding the 2 1/2 in white sashing that is called for in the pattern, then cut out and sewed into strips a 1-1/2 inch pieced scrappy border.  I will then add another border of white and then probably a red binding.

I am really excited about this, because I finally have something to put on the wall above my couch.  I have a HUGE, vaulted wall above the couch that has been empty since we moved here and I haven't known what to do with it.

Initially, I was going to make one of these ten dollar ledges because I don't have a mantel in this house and wanted some kind of surface to decorate by season.  But once I decided to make this a wall quilt, the vision came to me of how to deal with that empty space.  I hope it turns out as cute as it is in my mind.

I am still going to make the swoon quilt for my bed, I think.  I just need to decide on new fabric.

So, WiP #1 - Swoon  Quilt.  Worked on, changed, and added upon.  But...progress made, and that is the point, right?

Here are my stats for the week:

WiP's finished: 0
New WiP's - 0
 WiP's worked on: 1
#1 - Swoon mini quilt

Wip's NOT worked on:
WiP #2 -Denim Rag Quilt

WiP #3 - Star Baby Quilt

WiP #4 - Pillows

Linking to WiP Wednesday @ Freshly Pieced
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

and Fabric Tuesday @ Quilt Story

Fresh Poppy Design

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Cautionary Tale

While I was working on my last quilt, I had MAJOR difficulty once I got to the quilting.  Kept getting skipped stitches.  Sometimes just one here and there, and sometimes big huge spaces of skipped stitches, like an inch long! 

This had never happened to me on my old machine.  And my old machine is OLD.  Probably 20 years old, at least.
My little mechanical wonder - Bernina 1001
(not my actual machine...this is a photo of my exact machine from the web)

So because I had never had this problem before, I had no idea what was causing it.  I was seriously at a loss.  My worst fear was that my four-month-old, super expensive, brand new Christmas present from my lover husband had already gone on the fritz and that I was going to have to take it in to have it serviced already.  But I wasn't willing to jump to that conclusion right away.

My second thought was that maybe the problem was because of the thickness of the quilt and my lack of a walking foot.  But honestly, the quilt sandwich wasn't really thick at all. 


After wrestling with my machine for over an hour on some stupid, simple, straight-line quilting, I decided that the problem had to be my worst fear and I was going to have to pack up my machine and take it in.  But I had to get this quilt done, so I pulled out my trusty 1001 and decided to finish on that machine. 

Man, have I been spoiled with my new machine.  While I love my 1001, and it is a wonderful little machine, my new one (an Artista 730) is just....well...SO much better.

I decided before throwing my hands up and giving up I would try one last thing:

I would read the manual.

And this is what it said:

Really?  All I had to do was change the needle?  Really?
Yikes.  Now I feel really dumb.

So I changed the needle and guess what?  No more skipped stitches!

And so now, I have made a vow.  Repeat with me:
"When I have a problem with my machine I will read the manual."

And now I need to go so I can copy that on the chalkboard 100 times.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

WiP Wednesday #7

Another WiP finished!  I finished the quilt I made for the twins preschool fundraiser. 

Fundraiser chair

It's ok, but I'm not in love with it. You can read all my complaints about it here.  You've been warned :)

The only other WiP I worked on was my first Swoon block. 


Swoon WiP

It's so sad that it has taken me this long to get moving on it.  I had it cut out in January.  JANUARY.  Like, over 4 months ago, January.

But, you know how life goes.  Other stuff comes up and gets in the way, and regular life happens and the fun stuff gets put aside for awhile. 

But anyway, I pulled it out last night and started on it.  I will probably have it all sewn together tonight.  I am excited to finally see it put together!

Here are my stats for the week:

WiP's finished:
 WiP #1 - Fundraiser Quilt
New WiP's - 0
WiP's worked on:
WiP #2 - Swoon
Wip's NOT worked on:
WiP #3 -Denim Rag Quilt
WiP #4 - Star Baby Quilt
WiP #5 - Pillows

Total = 1 finished, 4 current WiP's

Linking, as usual, to Freshly Pieced :)
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, May 7, 2012


I finished the quilt for my twins Preschool fundraiser over the weekend.
Fundraiser chair

I'll be honest, I'm not loving it. 

Fundraiser rolled

(Although it does look cute rolled up.)

Fundraiser back

(And I actually love the backing and how the quilting looks from the back.)

Fundraiser full

But then I looked at this picture and everything that I had hoped would "come out in the wash" (literally and figuratively) didn't really. And not only that, but I noticed a huge, ugly mistake with my quilting that I didn't notice before seeing it in this photo.

Can you see it?  It's pretty obvious.
(Hint: look at the right side.)

My friend had just finished a quilt with this same quilting on it, and I thought this quilt was small enough to shamelessly copy do some similar quilting on it without a walking foot. 
Well, it isn't!

(I mentioned before that I had ordered a walking foot with my machine back in December.  For some reason, almost 5 months later, I still don't have it. It is supposedly on back order.) 

You can see how some of the rows shifted during the quilting. 

In general, I am a fan of more dense quilting, but I have been practicing my straight line skills lately, and this one seemed a good candidate to practice on since the fabrics had such a variety of patterns.  I thought free motion quilting would compete with all that. 

I actually like the quilting (I just sewed a straight 1/4 inch line on either side of all the horizontal seams), especially on the back.  I just hate that it shifted and kindof puckered.  And I probably would have picked it out and redone it if I weren't so limited on time to get it done.  Oh, well. 

I also did one of my best machine binding jobs I have ever done on this quilt.  I think I am finally really getting the hang of machine binding, even though I still prefer to hand bind when I have the time. 

So, see?  It didn't turn out all bad.  Let's just say this quilt won't ever land on my "Favorite Quilts" list.

I've also decided that I am kind of done with this pattern.  I chose it because it is extremely simple and easy to do for a fast quilt, but it's also pretty boring.  This is the second time I have used this "pattern" and I added the outer border this time.  I actually like the first version I did of the quilt better. I think because it was more tone on tone fabrics with only one bolder print.  That seems to work better for this pattern.  For me, anyway.

Here are the stats:
I followed this tutorial
Fabric: A variety of Denyse Schmidt Sugar Creek from JoAnns
Quilting: Straight line along the seams, done by me
Started: January 2012
Finished: May 2012

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

WIP Wednesday #6

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I finally finished my Christmas Tree Skirt! Yay!  You can read all about it here!

Tree Skirt

I love the feeling of being able to check a project off my list. 

So... WiP #1 = Christmas Tree Skirt.  Check! 

In addition to finishing my tree skirt, I have also been working on the fundraiser quilt again.  It is due by this coming Sunday.  Nothing like putting it off till the last minute, right??

Fundraiser Quilt - In Progress

WiP #2 = Fundraiser Quilt

I actually have had the quilt top done for over a month.  I finished it right before I left on my trip.
Last night I sandwich it and basted it, and I thought I would get a good start on the quilting, but my machine was giving me issues.  I have not quilted on my new machine yet, so I am not sure what the problem was, but I wanted to do some straight line quilting and it kept skipping stitches. 

Part of the problem may be that I am using a regular presser foot.  I don't have a walking foot for this machine yet, because, even though I ordered one to come in with my machine, it has supposedly been on back order for the past 4 months.  I am almost to the point where I am going to go get a refund and get one from another Bernina store in a different town.

Another problem may be that I need to raise the height of the presser foot.  I will try raising it, however, I am not going to spend much time trying to figure the problem out.  If that doesn't fix it, I will just get out my old mechanical Bernina that has a walking foot.

I have also added a new project, or rather, remembered an old project and pulled it out. 

Pillow Fabric

WiP #3 = Living Room Pillows

I have been wanting to recover my living room pillows for quite some time.  However, I wanted to do them in navy blue and for a long time, I couldn't find anything I liked in navy blue. 

Last year some time, I found a fabric I really loved and bought some. (That's it in the photo above.  Purty, ain't it??)  However, I wanted a different coordinating fabric to recover some of the other pillows, and couldn't find anything else that I liked.   So I stuck the fabric in my closet and I guess have just been waiting until I found something else I liked to go with it.

Well, I finally found something I like.  And I am excited to get my living room finally pulled together with stuff that I love, rather than just stuff I have settled for until something better comes along.

So, I am going to go get the new fabric today, and I pulled out the "old" fabric last night.  As soon as the Fundraiser quilt is done, the pillows will be next on the agenda!

Wip's NOT worked on:
WiP #4 -Denim Rag Quilt
WiP #5 - Star Baby Quilt
WiP #6 - Swoon Quilt (sad!)

WiP Stats
Current WiP's: 5
WiP's worked on this week: 2
New WiP's: 1
WiP's Finished: 1

Total WiP's: 5