The Scrappy Camper Strikes Again

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My youngest daughter is heading off to summer camp next week, so I took a break from quilting to make her this pillow case and yoga mat bag. (It’s yoga camp. How cool is that!)

These are both quick and easy projects. I could have finished them both in one day if I’d applied myself a little harder. The yoga bag is a free pattern from Amy Butler. She has a ton of cute projects, all free on her website. If you haven’t checked it out, you definitely should.

The pillowcase is a great first project for beginning sewers. Trust me, anyone can do it, and everyone could use more pillowcases, right?

Instructions can be found here.

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Meet My New Big Brother…

For almost 25 years now, I’ve been merrily sewing along on my fabulous Bernina 1230. I love that machine. But…

It’s starting to show its age. The light quit working a couple of years ago. The dog toppled it onto the floor recently which cracked the case a wee bit. It still worked though. But then, the needle started falling out every few stitches and I finally said, “enough.” I packed it away until I could get it into the shop and dusted off my little Brother SE-350. I bought it several years ago to try my hand at machine embroidery, and it’s a cute little machine. Sews fine. No complaints. But, it’s not the same as my trusty old Bernina.

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And then…

I visited a dear friend who told me about the new Brother Dream Fabric Frame. We went to her local quilt shop to test drive it. They were running a special. A bundle deal. Ta Da…

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That’s how I ended up with a new Big Brother, the Innovis VQ2400.

I have been a Bernina enthusiast for 25 years, and I’m sure the new machines are fabulous, but I couldn’t be happier with this one. I really didn’t realize what I’d been missing. The light is super-bright, it threads itself, and it has an enormous amount of work space. At my age, the first two things alone make it worth the $5,000 price tag.

The first thing I did once I got it unpacked was wind a bobbin. It was so easy and so much fun, I ended up doing five in just a couple of minutes. I had been planning to order some pre-wound bobbins, but I don’t think I need to now.

I couldn’t wait to see how it sewed so I dug out some triangles I’d cut years ago and sewed a few pinwheels.

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Big Brother did a great job. I can’t wait to see what else this lovely machine can do. Of course, eventually, I will assemble my new Dream Fabric Frame and lock this machine into the frame. Not just yet, though…

Five Years Later…

tshirt1So… I offered to make a memory quilt for a dear friend using her father’s old t-shirts. And I did. But it took me FIVE years to complete. I have felt horrible about it for the last 4.5 years.

In the normal course of things, I’m a slow finisher, but this was ridiculous. I encountered several setbacks including a crazy work schedule, an overseas move, and technical issues with the quilt itself, but finally, it’s done.

In accordance with my goal of finishing a UFO a month, this was my April 2016 project. Don’t judge me, but I actually ran into May with it. Don’t worry, I’ll catch up eventually. Maybe.

One of the first problems I had was the machine quilting. I set my stitch length too short and that combined with a high-loft batting caused me to put a small hole in the green shirt. (Sorry, Carrie.) Discouraged, I set it aside for a few months until I ran across an article about hand quilting with Perle Cotton embroidery thread. I used DMC size #8 in a variegated blue and am quite pleased with the results, despite some sore fingers.

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I used flannel on the back so it’s super-cozy. However, I wasn’t thrilled with the back of the quilt because A) I didn’t do a great job of getting the wrinkles out when I spray basted, and B) my stitching is not very pretty on the backside. Lessons learned.

 

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On the plus side, my friend FINALLY has her quilt and I can mark another UFO complete. Yay!

I Need a Bigger Bed…

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Current Work in Progress – Chaos Theory

Chaos Theory is coming along nicely, except for one thing. It’s too big to lay out on my queen-sized bed. In fact, there’s not a space in my house big enough to lay out the entire quilt. When finished, it will measure a whopping 96″ square. I don’t know what I’m going to do. For now, I’ll just keep sewing.

I have completed seven of the 16 sections. Only 1,296 small squares left to sew – sooooo – I better leave you and get back to work.

Go Home Purple Geese…

An Original Design

Last night I finished the design for a new project. I’m calling it, Go Home Purple Geese, You’re Drunk. I realize I didn’t use purple for the geese on my first draft, but I decided to change to a different color scheme before I sew it up.

I haven’t bought any quilt design software, so for now I’m doing it old school – graph paper and colored pencils. At some point, I’ll turn it into an actual pattern.

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I’m anxious to start cutting and sewing this one, but I haven’t finished the top for my last design yet, so it’ll have to go on the back burner for now. In the meantime, I need to decide if I’m going super-scrappy on this one or choosing a few fabrics from my stash.

My current design, Chaos Theory, is a monster project. It has 16 sections. Each one is 12 by 12 squares. When I’m done, I will have 2,304 small squares. Here’s a look at Section 13. It doesn’t look like much until you see all the sections together, then the underlying pattern shows through.

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I haven’t finished all of the previous 12 sections. I’ve been skipping around. It’s easier to disperse the fabrics evenly that way. Also, I get bored and skipping around helps.

Here is another section…

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At this rate, I’m not likely to have a finished top to show you for several weeks. I think I’ll try something easier next time. 🙂

Mahalo, y’all for stopping by.

 

Earth Song

A Finished Quilt Top (Or Flimsy, If You Prefer)

My other New Year’s Resolution, besides the one involving my scrap tub, was to finish something old and something new every month. It’s a contract I made with myself after realizing my UFOs had gotten out of control and that I was going to die one day with a zillion unfinished projects if I didn’t do something about it soon.

My first instinct was to say I couldn’t start any new projects until I finished all the old ones, but a wise friend suggested I alternate one UFO with one new project to stave off boredom. It’s a system that’s worked marvelously. Thanks, Kelly.

Earth Song is my Something New for March. It was inspired by a quilt I saw on Pinterest by Adrianne Ove of Little Bluebell. It’s a bossy little quilt. It insisted on that hippy name. (Not that I’m denigrating hippies. Far from it. I have quite a few hippy tendencies. My two daughters are named after trees and I’ll tie-dye anything that gets in my way.) However, I’m not that great at naming my quilts, so I let this one have it’s way.

There’s a small scrap element to this project. The yellow center squares came from my famous tub. The yellow used in the sashing was a fresh purchase. 😦 🙂 Everything else came from my stash, which is great because I need to use that up too. Yay, me.

Now, when I say “finish,” I mean I finished the quilt top. It’s not quilted yet. I’ve been saving for a long-arm quilting machine, so for the moment, I’m stacking my quilt tops on a shelf and waiting patiently. Hopefully next year will be my year to really finish all my projects. Having said that, I welcome any and all advice on which long-arm machine I should purchase.

Skill Level: Beginner

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to beginner quilters. It’s not only easy, but it comes together quickly. More advanced quilters can take it up a notch by using a pinwheel as the center block (A) or incorporating a more complex sashing.

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Illustration 1, Block + Sashing

12-inch block w/2-inch sashing (finished)

  • A = 4½” x 4½”
  • B = 4½” x 4½”
  • C = 4½” x 8½”
  • D = 4½” x 8½”
  • E = 4½” x 12½”

Sashing

  • Yellow strips = 2½” x 12½”
  • Brown squares = 2½” x 2½”

Layout

  • 24 blocks
  • 6 rows of 4 squares
  • Finished quilt size: 58″ x 86″

Accuquilt Friendly: Somewhat 

I used mine to cut the 4½” squares, the 2½” sashing strips, and the 2½” sashing squares. I used a rotary cutter for the 4½” by 8½” strips and the 4½” by 12½” strips.

Precut Friendly: Somewhat

You can use a jelly roll for the sashing. A charm pack will work for the two 4 1/2″ squares in each block. If I were going that route, I’d probably adjust the size slightly and not trim the charm pack squares. And you could use fat quarters for the other three pieces. If you go that route, you’ll need:

  • 1 jelly roll
  • 1 charm pack
  • 12 assorted fat quarters

This will make twenty-four 13½” blocks. Finished quilt size will be 70″ by 105″.

  • A = 5″ x 5″
  • B = 5″ x 5″
  • C = 5″ x 9½”
  • D = 5″ x 9½”
  • E = 5″ x 14½”

I hope you like Earth Song. Mahalo, y’all.

Churn Dash Aflutter

Throwback Thursday

I made this quilt in 2011 while living in Willow, Alaska. I had given myself a challenge to make a quilt entirely from fabrics I had on hand, and I managed to do that with everything but the backing and binding.

I started with the butterfly fabric. I wanted to use large-ish pieces to showcase the beautiful colors and pattern. I only had enough for 10 blocks, so I alternated my showcase blocks with one of my favorite traditional blocks, the churn dash.

I consider this more of a utility quilt. It’s small – a lap quilt – and the fabrics aren’t ones I would have bought to use together, but I don’t know… I kind of like it anyway. I used flannel for the backing so it’s super-cozy.

Wondrously talented Mary Lou Frahm of Honeybee Quilting quilted it for me. I love the allover butterfly pattern she used. If you’re in Alaska and need a good long-arm quilter, you can find her here.

I did not use my Accuquilt on this project, but they’ve since come out with a churn dash die, so I’ll probably make another one soon. I do love that block so I think I can justify the cost.

Mahalo y’all, for stopping by.