Friday, February 14, 2014

Maci's My Sunshine Quilt

One of the best things about being a dog trainer is all the wonderful people and dogs I get to know. Many of them become dear friends. Last year I began working with a very nice young couple who have one of the coolest Yorkies I have ever known! I was delighted when they called to tell me that it was time to get the dog ready for a new baby sister!

I had just finished making my first Sleepy Jean Crib Quilt by Springwater Designs available on the Moda Bake Shop, using the pastel portion of two Baby Talk by Benartex charm packs and I really enjoyed the pattern! It is easy for a beginner (me) yet looks complex and much more advanced than I am. So, I found a My Sunshine charm pack on Missouri Star Quilt Company's Daily Deal @ for some ridiculously cheap price, like under $2 and using leftovers of the Moda Porcelain yardage from the Baby Talk quilt, and some backing and border fabric, I whipped out a new Sleepy Jean Crib Quilt for baby Maci. They loved it! I got more creative with the quilting this time, doing each section in a slightly different style. I had just gotten a walking foot and had to play a bit!

I wasn't super happy with one of the sections quilting design, but my friends loved it. In fact, the hubby remarked that he liked the different textures that the quilting made... I hadn't thought about this from the view of stimulus for the new little lady and how they like that sensory feel. I definitely learned something valuable from that!

Today I am going to work on the next baby quilt for a friend, whom we shall call Velvet, who I know from AMTC. He and his wife just just welcomed a new baby girl into their lives. Velvet is an incredible man, and while I have only just met his wife once, I am delighted for them. I hope they like the colors I used this time! Velvet is a great actor and musician, funny, spiritual and just an all around excellent guy. I have no doubt that he will make it big and that God is doing great things through his life. I am just privileged to have gotten to work with him and to call him friend!

I am also going to hang the design wall I got and can't wait to start using it! Well, I am using it, but it's not convenient... it's draped across a desk and stack of fabrics! I was hoping to get some of the wrinkles out after I opened up the package yesterday.

And I have to say, aren't the Olympics, in Sochi for the Winter Games right now, incredible? I love how it makes it a small world again. It was heart wrenching to see Evgeni Plushenko have to make the decision to not skate yesterday after injuries. He may be Russian, but everyone was pulling for him and sad to see him go out without getting to finish the competition. And then the whole thing with the Russian Cross Country Skier who had broken a ski and a Canadian coach who came out to give him a replacement, who's wife won gold after her teammate in a relay, it turns out, had been helped by a Norwegian coach in her Olympics in 2006. It's the Spirit of The Games! 

From my experiences racing, every racer I have ever met would rather beat you on the track, even if they have to push you to the starting line themselves, or give you parts, and even help you install them! Why can't we help each other out more off the track? Keep the spirit alive!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My first Candle Mat!

As I went through some pictures of the projects I am working on, I found that I have lots I can blog about! That's always good, and even better, some of them are done! Between quilting, sewing, embroidery, knitting and crochet, I have enough UFO's to last a lifetime! Whatever will I do?

Start something new and exciting, of course! Duh! Isn't that what you would do? Honestly? Yeah, that's what I thought. ;-)

So, since I keep telling myself I want to blog about them, if for no other reason than to be able to look back at the accomplishments when I get old, here is one I really enjoyed making. It's a birthday gift for a very special lady and goes with the table runner I gave her for Christmas and coasters I made for her the previous Christmas. The colors are just "her"  and it's always exciting when you know that you found just the perfect fabrics (or yarn) for someone you love. After all, Gifts is one of my Love Languages... Now that I read the book, I understand the driving force behind my constant need to be making or buying gifts for other people. Of course there is a bit of self love going on, too... just look at the stash I have of fabrics, yarns and notions!

I have discovered, or rather. finally admitted that I have a propensity to make things that have no pattern and using the most difficult textile available. More on that later, but I will point out, in order to present evidence to support that claim, that there is no pattern, per se, for this and I used fabrics from a Scrap Bag, which is guaranteed to be all different lengths and widths. However, I am delighted with the results!

It all started as I played with some trimmed off corners I had in the scrap pile for this fabric line, which, BTW is Holiday Medley by Kansas Trouble Quilters for Moda. I love Moda... sigh...

So I began playing around with the scraps and making HST's and Hourglass blocks, but on a very small scale. Then, I got inspired to make a Candle Mat for MJ. Then I added a border and going Log Cabin style, just kept adding borders of contrasting colors and values and varying widths until I was satisfied. I pieced together strips for the back and added Warm and Natural batting (a large scrap I found in my batting box) sewed it right sides together, turned it and quilted it.

In hindsight, I wonder if I should have quilted it before I closed the opening, at least as much as I could have without messing up the edge? I had a little bubble of fabric that had no where to go, but it's so small she will never see it. If I had sandwiched it like a quilt is usually done, I wouldn't have had the bubble, but I thought adding binding to something so small was kind of silly, especially since I was making a last minute gift - not from lack of planning, but January birthdays are hard, especially so close to Christmas!

I echo quilted three lines ¼ inch apart, forming. inverted V's based off of the X of the hourglass center all the way to the edge, then skipped about an inch, echoing three more V 's in each quadrant, then spaced out another ¾ inch and echoed three more then skipped about ½ inch for 3 more small V' s. It was fun! I didn't have a Walking Foot but it went very well. I will have to make another candle mat or some mug rugs to practice on. I can really get into the Quilting side of this deal! I have some finished Baby Blankets also. I quilted them on Husqvarna Viking machine, one with the Walking Foot, the first without. I am excited to try FMQ, too!

So much to learn! But I am having a lot of fun!