Saturday, February 25, 2012

Vote for Leslie!

My darling friend Leslie Thompson is competing in the American Family Insurance Go Get Your Dream Challenge.  I know.  It's a mouthful.  BUT.  Leslie is amazing.  She is a graphic designer and she does great work!  She designed a company logo for us a few years back, and of course did a great job.  She wants to win the challenge so she can start her own graphic design company, specializing in wedding graduation and birth announcements.

So here's the good part:
I will give a handmade QUILT to my friend who produces the most votes for my friend Leslie in the next two days. She is THAT important to me. She deserves this chance. 
So. Go out. Tell your friends to vote for Leslie Thompson. Tell them to tell their friends!  Tell them to tell their families!  Send them the link. And tell them to come back and tell you that they did. Count up your votes. Whoever has the most votes by tomorrow night gets a quilt handmade by me. And you can choose the colors. I will have it done by the end of the summer. Perfect Christmas gift...or baby gift...or whatever.

The contest ends February 26th, tomorrow night, so get a move on!!!  Here's what the screen shot looks like:

Here's a close up of Leslie's photo:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The New Girl

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I am a VERY happy camper. Over the last month or so, I have been researching and bidding on sewing machines. As in, on ebay. Of course. Because no way can I afford a new one. But every. single. time. I bid, I'd be outbid in a matter of hours. It was a little disheartening, and ridiculous. I was sad because I had a very limited budget.

Just for kicks, I got on craigslist and low and behold! There was a Pfaff listed, only a little out of my price range, but no picture. I emailed about it, and clearly stated that I could only afford $220, not the $300 asking price, but I'd like to see pictures anyway. The owner wrote me back with photos and said that she'd take my measly $220 if I wanted it! So I drove over to Mesa to see if the machine looked as good in real life, and although I wanted it, I actually had an ebay bid that I needed to check on, so I went home empty-handed with a promise to call her asap.

I went home, got online, and of course, I was outbid yet again. (Next major purchase should be an iphone + data package, I know, I know.) I called back and asked if I could come back and get the Pfaff, even though it was already 9:30pm. She said yes! I felt like I was going to get a new baby or something, I was so giddy! I made myself wait until today to get it set up and and give it a whirl and I sewed those little 9 was like heaven. It was like driving a Ford Escort your whole life (Believe me, I know, I had one in college, bless it's little engine that could.) and then someone giving you the keys to your very own Cadillac. It was smooth as butter. And it's just SO CUTE!

Anyway, here's a shout-out to my husband, who bought my first machine as a Christmas gift, and who waited so patiently for me to finally get it out 3 years later and learn to sew. And to that little Brother...thanks for not giving me too much trouble.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Celebrity Sighting, Kind of.

So I was just at the grocery store, minding my own business, and trying to hurry through my list, when I happened to look over at an end cap and found these darling flour sack towels. On. Sale. I thought, wow, I cannot pass these up, they're SO CUTE! I grabbed some for myself and some for gifts. And I thought I could not have been happier!

Then, I came home and got out my scissors to cut the tags off and I spotted the designer name. Kate Spain. Kate. Spain. KATE SPAIN!!! There is no way that her name would have meant a thing to me a year ago. Maybe it seems silly, but I was proud of myself for 1. scoring Kate Spain tea towels without even knowing it, after all, it means I've got GREAT taste, and 2. knowing who Kate Spain is! Happy Day.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Elijah's Quilt

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I had lots of fabric left over from Cullen's quilt, and just went ahead and made another one, this time a decidedly modern version. Half of the front is the striped fabric I used for the back of Cullen's quilt, and the other half is improvisationally pieced in strips. I wanted to showcase as many of those cute little animals as possible.

The back is pieced with the dark chocolate polka dots and a horizontal stripe of scraps, mostly orange. I like the way this one came together, but I don't love the quilting. I tried to do wavy intersecting lines, but I don't think it was very successful. Perhaps if I had used a lighter thread color. Or, maybe if there were more lines? I just might have given up too soon. But. Definitely learning. And I think next time I try machine quilting I'll need a walking foot. I tried to do it without one, and I had lots of bunched up sections. Not super cute. :(

What I love about this process is that every time I make a quilt, I learn something new. It's definitely a trial-by-error sort of thing. Which can be incredibly frustrating, I realize. But I really am enjoying the journey. For once!

Elijah's Quilt was completed on May 22, 2011.

Cullen's Quilt

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Okay, so for my next quilt my photography has improved a little. We've got natural light this time. But that back light is killing me! What was I thinking?!

This time I tried out machine quilting for the first time (I quilted squares within squares, nothing fancy) and hated every minute until I realized that I needed to leave the needle down before I turned the quilt! Talk about agony.

I learned a very important lesson about color value with this quilt. You can see how even though the fabrics are all different in the log cabin blocks, they are all very yellow. In the end, I added the orange sashing (before I knew it was called sashing!) for contrast, because I could see that the whole quilt top ran together. Very blah.

Then the backing! Augh! Be careful if you piece the back of your quilt to make sure and give yourself some wiggle room around the edges! Otherwise, you end up cutting off favorite blocks when you square up after quilting. Baby steps...

But I loved the binding. That dark chocolate polka dot. Gets me every time. And since I didn't like the look of whipstitching, I finished the binding by hand with an invisible ladder stitch. Love.

I finished baby Cullen's quilt November 6, 2010.

Meghan's Quilt

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The first quilt I ever worked on actually only made it to the finished-quilt-top-phase. At that point I sewed it onto a duvet cover and called it good.

My first finished quilt, a mammoth denim "picnic blanket" made out of my old jeans, was completed shortly after my senior year of high school. (photo forthcoming!)

Fast forward 15 years. This is baby Meghan's quilt. The pictures are terrible. Took them with a flash, indoors, at night! But, this is where my new-found quilting obsession began.

I machine pieced the eight log cabin squares and the piano key border (before I knew it was called a piano key border!) but hadn't the foggiest idea how to finish it off. I knew about tying quilts, but I didn't want to tie this one with yarn, so I embroidered little flowers on it instead to hold the quilt sandwich together.

I completed baby Meghan's quilt on May 31st, 2010.