Thursday, June 30, 2011

Laid Out

Edit:  linking with Lily Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict. Happy blog hopping!

Forty-nine blocks plus one extra for the Stained Glass quilt all laid out and looking FABULOUS! They came together much quicker than any other quilt I've made, and I love the effect!

Flash photography helps display colors a little better, but natural light will reveal them in their true glory.

I even fussy-cut a few "windows" to bless the newlyweds with life and growth!

I've begun putting the blocks together. The only thing that will slow down the process is deciding on backing and purchasing more batting.

Meanwhile I decided to join the Rockin' Robin Quilt-Along. I think it will be a great opportunity to continue stretching my skills as well as provide me a sweet lap quilt for myself (for once, not a lap quilt to give away!)

I found a bit of yardage set aside from my regular stash. My best friend and I agreed that "it's so bad it's good" when I bought it. You can't tell from the pictures, but those loud colors and busy print are highlighted by shiny metallic gold. Seriously. So I think it's a perfect for this quilt. They're calling for three yards of background and two yards for all else. I have two yards of this print, so I'll go in reverse:  scraptacular background, matching foreground!

Wanna see what I pulled? Literally just started tossing stuff onto my bed.

Am I crazy? I hope not. I'm sticking with black-white-grey-turquoise. That's tame, right? Hopefully it work like this and this... So bad it's good!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I taught a six-year-old girl to sew yesterday. She was intrigued when she saw me working on my Marlowe sampler blocks. As she worked, I finished two more of my eight blocks.

Gentleman's Fancy:

Tennessee Waltz:

I haven't used templates on any of these blocks, and figuring out how they are constructed has been an adventure. I shrug at my truncated triangles, but as a friend pointed out, at least they're consistent!

I was excited to lay out all my blocks! My last sampler block is a Double Wedding Ring. I'm piecing it to paper templates (not sure if that's technically "paper-piecing" or not) and laid out what I've got so far. Looking over my handwork, I feel AWESOME!

In my time at home I've been working on machine-pieced blocks. The first is a trial for my first ever quilting bee! Here is July's block made with vintage and scrap polycotton. I think I'll do a trial for each month, then combine those blocks into a picnic quilt later.

And here is the actual bee block! I've never been so cautious and precise with cutting and seams. Dang! And it still didn't come out perfect! But that's okay. It was a great first experience.

Finally, I've been piecing blocks of pearl grey-dyed muslin for a good friend's impending wedding. To me, he is the total package--courteous, kind, a great dance partner, a whiz in the kitchen, plays classical guitar, concocts delicious cocktails, great with children, well-traveled and works with an organization that rescues child soldiers in Asia. (Honestly, I could go on!) His style is chicly Casablanca, but his dear bride is sleek and modern. When I saw this quilt (tutorial here), I knew I could make both styles work. I'm just beginning, but I love how the blocks are coming together!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Great Granny Square Baby Blanket

My cousin is having a baby! He and his wife married years after my Great Granny passed away, but I learned to crochet through her legacy and decided to pass it on!

Great Granny crocheted shell potholders using Boye no. 10 hooks and mercerized cotton thread. I drew inspiration from there and used variegated cotton yarn for the interior, bordering in natural yarn. With baby due in the fall, which can still be quite warm in the South, I thought it perfect to drape over a crib sheet and add just the right bit of warmth. 

Initially I believed the colors were a perfect match with the paint swatches I'd seen for the nursery, but when I looked again, I saw greys and reds. Happily, this presented me with an opportunity to dye the blanket grey!

This was my first attempt at a crocheted baby blanket and my first time dying anything yarn. I love the results, and my cousin and his wife did, too!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Coldplay Mug Rug

Look at the stars... Look how they shine for... 


And everything you do...

Yeah, they were all yellow...

I never thought I'd enjoy the mug rug trend, but there's something satisfying about the opportunity to play with techniques on a small scale AND have a quick completion. Plus I needed something to go under my teacup while my coasters were being washed!

My inspiration for this mug rug came from the colors grey and yellow. I felt wonky stars would be a great format for playing with that palette. Impatient to finish, I tried sewing the binding on entirely by machine. Alas, I cannot find the tutorial I referenced, but the idea is that the binding is lapped far enough over in the back that a stitch run in the ditch from the front will catch the binding in the back. (How's that for a sentence? Check it--I'm sounding like a research article!)

The Coldplay connection didn't even occur to me until I was snapping photos. Just so happens that "Yellow" is one of my favorite songs. Love when the heart knows first, and the brain catches on later!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Zippered Pouch

My Rescued Threads Tote does not have an interior pocket, so I made a pouch to clip in with a carabiner. I followed this tutorial but modified it to add a loop and adjust for pillowcase lining. It turned out a little wonky, but for a first try and keeping with the repurposed theme, I think it's a win. It also gave me a place for the odd patches people have recently given me. The zipper is from a stash I acquired when a friend's mother downsized her sewing basket.

Summer is in full-swing, which means more time for making! Happy June, ya'll!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Rescued Batik + Wooden Necklaces

My friend gave me a long scrap of batik from Thailand (I think!), and I knew I had to make something fabulous from it. I was inspired by this tutorial.

I used round and dowel-shaped beads from a back massager I'd found at a thrift store and cut apart. The interior beads were clipped from a mirror ball garland I'd used to decorate a classroom. I also diverged from Martha's tutorial by wrapping and stitching embroidery thread to seal off each bead instead of knotting. I found I got much more length from my necklace this way! And since my needle and thread was handy, I sewed the ends together rather than leaving them to be tied.

LOVING the results!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Rescued Threads (tm) Tote

The artist of Lillian's Stitches can now be found at Walking With Feathers.

As promised!

Let's make a giant tote, shall we? And to make it fun, let's make it from remnants, thrift store finds and items rescued from yard sales!

You will need the following:
  1. Pillowcase for lining
  2. At least 2/3 yard of 60" canvas or twill
  3. 2 8x22" rectangles of fabric for straps
  4. 1 15x16" rectangle of fabric for pocket
  5. Patches, small doilies, other embellishments
  6. Thread
  7. Iron, ironing board, rotary cutter, cutting mat, sewing machine, etc.

Now for the how-to!

1) Iron all your fabric, including your pillowcase. This will ensure accurate measuring, especially since you got your pillowcase at Goodwill and may not know the size. Turn your pillowcase inside-out.

2) Decide how tall you want your bag to be. Add about an inch, and chop your pillowcase across the open end. Measure accurately, marking in pencil if you wish. Keep this number in mind for the exterior of the tote.

3) Measure the width of your pillowcase. Add 2 inches to this number to determine the dimensions of your finished tote. Cut a rectangle of canvas the width of your pillowcase plus 2 inches. For example, my pillowcase is 20.5 inches wide. I cut my canvas 22.5 inches wide.

For the length, recall how long you cut your pillowcase. Add 2 inches to that measurement and double it. My pillowcase was about 18.25 inches high. 18.25 + 2 = 20.25 . 20.25 * 2 = 40.5 .

Thus, I cut my canvas into a rectangle 22.5 x 40.5 inches.

4) Choose your embellishments! I found miniature doilies at a yard sale. Fold your long canvas rectangle in half, WRONG sides together, and carefully place your embellishments. Consider that the bag will have dimension, so don't place them too close to the fold or the edges. The closest I put mine to an edge or bottom was 4 inches. Pin carefully onto one layer of fabric, then sew edges down.

5) For the exterior pocket, iron all raw edges down about 1/2 inch and sew. If you have a serger, trim your rectangle by 1/2 inch and serge the edges.

6) Fold over again, iron and sew, locking raw edges inside.

7) On the other side of your canvas rectangle (i.e. don't cover up your embellishments!), place and pin your pocket, centering the short side of the rectangle and making sure it is parallel to the bottom fold of canvas. I placed mine about 5 inches from the bottom and about 4.5 from each side.

8) Sew around three sides, keeping the top side open.

9) With RIGHT sides together, pin sides of tote and sew together with a 3/4 inch seam.

10) Making sure you have a crisp bottom fold, pull out the bottom corners and mark off 5 inches. (The crisp fold will help you center your ruler as you measure and ought to lie perfectly on top of your seam.) Sew on each side. Follow the same procedure with the pillowcase.

11) Turn the bag right side out and tuck inside the pillowcase. Align side seams and top edges, then pin in place. Sew with a 1/2 inch seam, leaving about 4-5 inches to turn the bag.

12) Turn the bag out and iron the top edge.

13) Topstitch about 1/8 inch around the top of the bag.

14) This is a little tricky, but trust me. Pinch JUST the pillowcase and tug gently until an inch of canvas is turned down towards the inside of the bag. Press and pin, then topstitch 3/4 inch from the edge.

15) I owe this tutorial for inspiration on making these straps. Fold your rectangles in half lengthways and sew around 2 edges, leaving one short edge open. Clip the corner, turn out and press flat.

16) Turn in the open end, pin closed and topstitch closed, continuing around the exterior of the rectangles.

17) Fold your straps in half, RIGHT sides together, and press. Pin a few inches from the edge, then open the ends and pin to your bag. Adjust until you find something comfortable. Unpin from bag, and sew each strap in half, ending with your pin.

18) Pin straps to bag and sew. I chose a simple box, but you may want sew across the center.

That's it! Now fill your bag with all you need to start a new adventure and go out and LIVE IT!