Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 crafting summary

It has been a good crafting year for me. I restarted the Lord's Supper cross stitch and made pretty good progress. The plan was to do at least a disciple a month and I did do that when I was cross stitching continuously. I took a break during the summer and then again towards the end of the year. I really like the way it has turned out so far.

The quilting has definitely taken off. I finished two quilts completely. Both are being used and I like that I am not just bundling them away. I pieced two new quilts that I have ready to send off to be quilted by Jenny. I branched out to table toppers. The one I finished I will definitely be using next summer. I joined my first quilt along and have learned how to relinquish control a bit. I do have two UFOs, but that isn't that bad. I am working on one right now, so it isn't that bad.

I've met new quilters and discovered the online quilting community. There are some very creative people out there!

The goals for next year are to scale back on fabric accumulation and actually use the patterns and fabric I already have. I hope that next year I start actually quilting and not just piecing. Oh, and finish the Last Supper cross stitch.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sharing a tidbit- right and wrong side to batting

This was a blog post well worth sharing. Thanks KarrieLyne!

Is there a top and bottom side to Warm & Natural?
Yes. The side with "flecks" (plant and leaf particles) is the top side. The whiter side is the bottom side. If you iron a quilt or wearable made with Warm & Natural, press with the top side toward the iron and make sure your iron is on a low setting. If you make a white quilt consider quilting with Warm & Natural bottom side up."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Admitting mistakes

I took the Process Pledge, so I am admitting that this block had to ripped apart several times. I laid the block out, but when I carried my pieces to the sewing machine I got them flipped around and it ended up looking like this.

ALL wrong! So I ripped off the sides and flipped the triangles around. I had to undo one side again because the points were off. I don't know about anybody else, but I make sure I sew through the seam intersection of triangles to make sure I get the point.

The final version has a couple seams a bit off, but I am too tired right now to rip it out yet again.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cross stitch burnout!

I have burned out again on my cross stitch project. I am hoping it is revived after the New Year. This is where I am ending for the year.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Well, I looked at block 3 and while piling it with blocks 1 and 2, I saw that block 2 was much larger. I knew I had not trimmed the half square triangles down to 3.5 inch blocks, but I had figured it would be ok. Well, every little 1/16th of an inch added up and the block was a good half inch larger than the other two. It became really obvious when I added in block 3. So I ripped it apart (just the square blocks), trimmed them down and put them back together. I feel much better!

Friday, December 10, 2010

First impressions

I wasn't so sure about Block 3 of the Layer Cake Quilt Along, but after picking my fabrics and putting the block together I really, really like it. That was a long sentence!

There was a fair amount of piecing in the block and looking at the Flickr group many made modifications. I followed the instructions and I am glad I did. I wanted this experience to stretch me and following the instructions made me go with something I wasn't sure I wanted to. I really do like the block.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Layer Cake Quilt Along- Block 2

In the movie Clueless, Cher talks about how she doesn't rely on mirrors when picking an outfit; she takes Polaroids. I took that approach with this block from the Layer Cake Quilt Along. I wasn't sure how to make the colours work, so I took pictures to make an objective decision. I did learn the importance of scale. Reading quilting magazines and books, they always talk about scale, but I've never really grasped the concept. My first choice had too many small scale fabrics, so I switched one out to a larger scale and it totally worked. I also had to make a call on what is considered a dark when there is truly only one dark in the layer cake. I decided that I would take my 'darkest' light and make that a dark. I think it worked pretty well. I went with option 4 of the different combinations.

The block wasn't the easiest to work with. I am glad I had some experience with half square triangles, but even with that I did double check that I had sewn it right before I cut them apart. For the most part my points turned out ok, but the straight squares are off. Go figure!! I did unpick and sew them again, but I couldn't get them to work. I gave up. Oh well!

I am really enjoying this quilt along. I am learning how to read instructions and definitely learning how to put colours and prints together. I may be a quilter yet!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Two more disciples down

Ok, so one is only a sleeve, but two more down. The list is now Bartholomew, James I, Andrew, Judas, Peter, John, James II and Philip.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pie! From Scratch!!

A week or so ago I took a pie making class. I learned how to make pie crust and a couple different pie fillings (lemon, cherry and pumpkin). As part of the class, we got to make two pie crusts to freeze. Today, I made use of one of those pie crusts. My church is having a pot luck and I need to bring a dessert. I tried my hand at hazelnut pie; pretty much a pecan pie, but with hazelnuts.

Rolling out the crust was a bit interesting. I need to work on that, but the dough was forgiving. A little pulling, squishing and the crust ended up in the pan in one piece. . . sorta.

I got the filling recipe off the net and it was ridiculously easy. After mixing it up it did look a bit suspicious. I decided to go with it anyway and figured church people would be forgiving. One thing I did learn is place the pie crust on the baking sheet before you pour in the filling. Disposable pie plates are very flimsy and don't do well with moving from kitchen island to baking sheet on stove top very well.

I couldn't remember if I should foil the edges or not, but I decided to err on the side of under-baking. It smelled divine in my house while it baked! There was a bit of spillage over the side, but the foil did help. I pulled them off for the last 15 minutes of baking. The end product looks great. I need to walk out the door in the next couple minutes. I will update with an edit on how it tasted.

Edit: The pie was delicious! I would make it again. The hazelnuts held up really well against the sweetness of the sugar and corn syrup mixture.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Process Pledge

Doing battle with this flannel project and blogging along the way, made me realize I might as well commit and take the Process Pledge.

I, Karen, pledge to talk more about the processes, even when I can't quite put them into words or be sure I'm being totally clear.

Flannel is not fun to work with!

They may seem all warm and fuzzy, but they are not warm and fuzzy when you work with it! With the shrinkage I didn't have enough fabric to get all the pieces I needed. Back to the fabric store!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Trying out flannel

This is going to be a bit of blogging the quilt process in real time. I am making two baby quilts this weekend. I have never sewn flannel before, so I have no idea what I am in for. I did some research online and everybody stressed pre-washing.

I am glad I listened. Flannel shrinks and frays!!! I expected some shrinkage and some fraying, but not like this. Somebody mentioned increasing the seam allowance to a half inch and I am definitely doing that.

The quilts are for baby girls, so the fabric I chose are pink, floral and green. They are really pretty fabrics. I am using the And Baby Takes 3 pattern from Teacher's Pet. The quilt store recommended it as an easy baby quilt pattern.

While I was at the cut counter another lady was getting flannel as well to make blankets for babies in the neonatal unit. She said that they take some fabric and make hearts for the mothers. The mothers wear the hearts so their scent wears on the hearts and they place them with the babies when the mothers have to leave. I thought that was really neat.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Applique redo

I couldn't look at the block without seeing the puckering. It was messing up the fit of the entire block, so I ripped out the circle. I went ahead and applied fusible web to make it a little sturdier. This time I did check my tension and found one that didn't pucker. It isn't perfect, but I feel MUCH better.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Layer Cake Quilt Along- Block 1

My fabric arrived this morning and I started right into Block 1 for the Layer Cake Quilt Along. I did make a conscious decision to try and make the contrast work; I folded up the fabric squares to make sure.

For the first two squares I trimmed off the pinked edges and that wasn't a good idea. Those pinked edges are included in the 10 inch measurement and so I was a smidge off (1/16th of an inch) with some of my measurements. By the third square I had figured out to keep the pinked edges. There was also the option to add an applique circle in the middle square. I decided to go for it. I have never done applique of any sort before. I used a zig zag stitch, but apparently my tension was off because the fabric puckered. Ooops.

I thought the block turned out pretty well, even though the middle block did skew things a bit. There is a flickr group and when I look at the other blocks, I wish my block was more crisp. Maybe by the end of the quilt, I will have the crisp look down. Can't wait for the next block pattern to come out.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My first Quilt Along

I caught onto this Quilt Along a bit late so I don't have my fabric yet. I ordered it today from (as usual) The Fabric Shack. Still half price shipping. Yay! I am using Breakfast and Tiffany's from Fig Tree & Co.

It is a Layer Cake Quilt Along from Moose on the Porch Quilts. There are contests during the process and people post pictures of their blocks as they make them. The first block pattern has been posted and people have already posted pictures of their blocks. There are some awesome fabric selections and colour combinations. There is a button on the side that links to the Quilt Along.

I'm a little nervous on how it is going to turn out because I am a bit of control freak and I won't know what all the blocks are in advance. I will have to pick each block's colours without knowing the pattern of the next one. This will be a good exercise in learning how to not over think things. Not sure if that made any sense!

Will update when the first block is done.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Lord's Supper

So this story starts back in 1997. I had the pattern, got the supplies and started, but I didn't connect with the project. The pattern said to use 3 strands and that made the crosses look lumpy. Some of the colours were a combination of 2 strands of one colour and one of the other. I should have trusted my judgement and just gone with two. I did all the clothing of the disciples and all their hair, but I decided to start over.

So this past January I started over completely. I didn't really care for the colour of the previous fabric, so this time I went with plain white. My goal was to finish it in a year and a half- at least one disciple a month. I started with gusto and then I burned out. I am starting again because TV shows are no longer on re-runs and I can't quilt and watch TV at the same time. I can cross-stitch and watch TV at the same time, even with a blanket on me. So I will update every 2 weeks or so to show progress. So far I have done all the clothing of the disclipes on Jesus' right. That is Bartholomew, James, Andrew, Judas, Peter and John. I've cut it a bit close with the border on the edges, but it should still frame well. So here's hoping I get a lot done this winter.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Taking a break from quilting

I am done with quilting for a bit. It is an expensive hobby! Using a sewing machine makes the process of assembling a quilt quick, so I constantly have to start new projects. Cross stitch takes a bit, so I am going to spend the winter trying to make more progress on my cross stitch project.

The wind was blowing so the border flipped in.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Combination of science nerd and crafter

This was too cool not to share. So neat! Hhmm. . . I wonder how I can get out there to see it.

Crochet Your Way to Coral Reef

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Des Moines Area Quilt Guild quilt show

This past week Des Moines hosted the American Quilter's Society quilt show. There were competitive quilts as well as some exhibition quilts on loan from the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY. The best part of course were all the vendors and seeing all the quilt patterns, tools and fabric that is out there.

The Des Moines Area Quilt Guild hosted their quilt show in conjunction and I entered a quilt. It was in the 'My First Quilt' division. I walked away with a blue ribbon. I am pretty pleased with myself.

Quilt update

The fabric is called Martinique and the pattern is called Perfect Ten, so I think I am naming this Parfait Dix.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Saturday, October 2, 2010

And the stash grows

I enjoyed the way the table topper came together, so I am going to do another one. It is spring like, so I am in no hurry to get it done anytime soon. I am using Mill House Inn fabric by Fig Tree Quilts. I love Joann Figueroa's designs. There is a reversible wrap skirt pattern I would like to try for next spring/summer. She has an awesome blog too.

P.S. Got the fabric at the Fabric Shack. Love their sales. Still half price shipping.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Projects that go on forever

So in my previous post I mentioned my friend Emily. She does counted cross stitch as well. She just finished a project and decided to start a new one. Oh and it is a big one! Emily is outdoorsy and was looking for something in that vein. She found a website and found a pattern with deer. It is a painting that was turned into cross stitch.

It is HUGE. She is using 18 count Aida and it is still going to be almost 2 feet both ways. There are 24 pages of pattern. That's Emily in the background.

So to keep her motivated, I am blogging her progress. Emily colours in the sections she has done to keep track of where she is at. You can see the small patch of colour in the middle. Hopefully that grows rapidly. Estimated date of completion: 2013. Seriously.

I have my own project that needs to be kept accountable. I will get around to talking about that.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Design floor?

I am working on the Perfect Ten quilt pattern using Martinique fabric. The cutting was easy enough, but laying out the quilt has been exhausting! The instructions said use a design wall. HA! That translates to the living room floor. I had help from my friend Emily making sure all the colours were evenly spread and the quilt wasn't too 'red'. We arranged blocks, moved blocks, walked around the quilt and then moved blocks again.

Even though arranging blocks can be exhausting, I do love the process of a quilt coming together. The generic pattern can be changed by fabric choice, arrangement of the blocks and it becomes distinct and 'yours'.
Now I have to piece the blocks together, add the borders and it will be another quilt down. This is now quilt no. 3.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The table topper

Still needs to be quilted and bound. It ended up larger than I expected.