Wild Wild West

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The quilt was the western quilt I mentioned in the Just Keep Swimming post a few weeks ago (https://catherinecureton.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/just-keep-swimming/). It is my first applique quilt and the beginning of a new obsession! I didn’t really have to learn applique for a western quilt (because there are about a million western quilts floating around on the internet), but I came across one with an image similar to this and I fell in love! The image needed some tweaking up and the original was way too small to really see much, so I enlisted my artist in residence (Spencer) to help redraw/fix the scene into something more workable for me. Then I followed the usual steps for tracing out pieces onto Wonder under, ironing the scene together and sewing the pieces down. I had some fun with texture by doing the horse and the chaps out of a suede-like fabric and leaving a loose fringe on the chaps. I used free motion quilting to sew the quilt together and get all of the fun texture in the background.

Tada!

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And Bonus! Baby onesies! I think I like these as much as I like the quilt (especially the one with the butt pockets)!

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Just Keep Swimming!

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This project was an experiment to say the least! My Granny wanted baby quilts & onesies to give as gifts to some friends who were having babies and she wanted them to match the nursery themes. One wanted western and the other wanted Nemo (you’ll see the western one later).

I couldn’t find examples of Nemo themed quilts ANYWHERE and embroidering enough Nemo patterns on my machine for a quilt would have been too much of a hassle because of how small the hoop is….so I decided to learn applique! Technically this is my second applique quilt (because I finished the western one first) but I am no expert. I also had no pattern…

What I found is that I LOVE applique! It is so flexible design wise and it is actually pretty easy. To make my pattern I found an image of a finding Nemo fleece blanket that I liked and searched coloring books to find the characters in similar poses. Then I brought the images into Photoshop and re sized/re adjusted to get the scene the way I wanted it. I printed the characters out on the printer at home and pieced them together with tape. Then I used my creative judgement to trace the pieces I needed out onto Wonder under fusible backing. From there it’s a long tutorial on how to applique that I won’t bore you with. Basically the Wonder under makes the fabric into an iron on transfer, so you iron it down then sew around the edges to make it permanent. There is no magical stitch that everyone likes or perfect way to do it. I used black thread and did a satin stitch (very short zig-zag) to make it look like cartoon outlines.

Also, you can’t see it here as well, but I had a lot of fun playing with free motion quilting to add water and other textures to the background

Tada! I would improve a few things for the next round, but I’m not upset with the results at all!

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And bonus! Baby onesies to match!

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Baby Stuff

My friend Lori  is about to pop! And I wanted to sew her something that would be both cute and useful when the baby comes. They’re waiting to be surprised, so I had the extra challenge of making something gender neutral.

The first thing I made was a baby swaddle. I’ve heard that they’re very useful for bundling babies up when they’re really little, and I’d seen them used at the hospital before. The free downloadable PDF can be found here (yes in MAKE magazine of all places!) http://blog.makezine.com/craft/craft_pattern_podcast_snuggler/

I lined it with a soft knit instead of fleece because it will be Texas summer during the months the baby can use it.

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The next project was for when the baby gets a bit older. I’ve heard several moms mention how great grocery cart covers are for babies (especially while teething), but couldn’t find a pattern I liked anywhere. They were either over complicated or called for waaay too much fabric (like 5yds). So, I improvised. I went the HEB to measured their seats (the biggest in town) and made sure that 1 yd would cover the entire hole (remembering that the fabric has to go down the sides and back up). It did, so I took my yard of cotton and my yard of fleece (2 yards total), laid them together, rounded the corners and sewed them together so that I could run elastic around the entire outside of the circle. Then I went back to HEB and used pins to mark where the leg holes needed to be and added those. Sorry if that sounds confusing, but feel free to message me if you’d like it explained more in depth or with photos). I also added toy clips and pockets to keep the pacifier and other toys off the floor.

The only thing I wasn’t happy with was that you couldn’t see very much of the pretty yellow fabric when I put it in the buggy, but technically it is reversible and I put toy clips on both sides.

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Barnyard Birthday Bash!

It had been a while since I’d done a big cake, so I jumped at the chance to help my friend Emily by making her son’s first birthday cake! Since it was a barnyard theme, I got to try something new and sculpt all of these adorable little animal babies! For his smash cake (cake all of his own that he could baby drool on) I made a little hay bale with his name and a baby cow. IMG_9706 IMG_9702

To continue the barnyard theme I appliqued these adorable overalls for him to wear! IMG_9630 IMG_9638 IMG_9632

Stuffed Love!

Ok…I know….What happened to Mondays? Doesn’t it seem like all my posts start this way? To be fair though, I do have another good excuse! Spencer stripped and rebuilt my computer (at least that’s my understanding of whatever he did). Also…I got a job! It is wonderful! Honey Bee Quilt Shop needed another girl to help out and I needed to get out more, so I started working there part time and I love it!

This last weekend was the Blue Bonnet Shop Hop and Grandma came up to go with me. If you’ve never been on a shop hop (and you love fabric), I highly recommend it. Basically, a group of shops sets aside a special week or weekend to stay open late and offer special prizes and snacks and people come from all over to go from one shop to the next. You get special prizes for making it to all the shops and they have challenges for designing quilt blocks. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I absolutely loved it! I got to finish collecting fabric lines that were hard to find and I learned a lot more about the fabric stores available in my area. Now I know where to go for a certain style of fabric if I’m having a hard time finding it!

At the last shop I found this adorable stuffed owl pattern and decided that it needed to come home with me. There is just something extra special about homemade stuffed animals. The designer is Jennifer Jangles and he is the Okey Dokey Owl (but I call him Hooty). Normally patterns and I don’t get along because I change them too much, but this guy was pretty close to perfect and the pattern was VERY easy to follow (photos and diagrams for every step)!

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This next creature was commissioned by a friend at church to be a door prize for family movie night. They were watching the Princess Bride and wanted an ROUS. This ROUS isn’t quite as terrifying as the real deal, but he does look like one of the Muppets from the season when budget cuts forced them to give up their dental plans (hahaha…bad joke).

I used this pattern http://sewingstars.com/mousepattern.htm blown up in photoshop about 10,000 X and added a mouth (you can’t have a blood thirsty rat without teeth).

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Let’s Go Fly a Kite!

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March 3rd was the annual Zilker Park Kite Festival in Austin and it inspired me to make my very own kite! I don’t know where I originally got the idea to use fabric and make a patchwork quilt, but this tutorial was very helpful: http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-patchwork-fabric-kite/2009/06/29/

I didn’t follow the instructions exactly because I was looking at a few other tutorials at the same time, and I got turned around with all of the different instructions; so, the day of Kite Fest our kite didn’t actually fly! I was very disappointed since I had stayed up so late the night before building it, but I didn’t give up! That night we replaced the spars (rods) with slightly thinner dowels (less dangerous!) and put them on the correct side of the kite (my biggest problem was trying to fly it upside down all day…Hooray for late night tutorial misreads!). I also added pockets for the rods to go in on each corner and modified the way I finished the edges. Then, we made the tail bigger to add some more weight. For those of you wondering, this style of quilting is called crazy quilting or crazy patch. You either start in the middle or on one side and quilt the fabric to the back as you go…very fun!

On Monday I met Spencer at a park near his work on his lunch break and we had a wonderful picnic where we tested the new and improved kite! The weather was perfect and the kite flew amazingly! We let out about 150′ of string to my best guesstimate (based on how long the spool was and how much was left on it)! Unfortunately/ fortunately all we had were phone cameras so we had to go back on Tuesday to fly it again! The weather was much colder Tuesday and the wind was quite a bit stronger; but the kite still flew! And, my amazing garage sale camera lens finally came in handy ($50 for a brand new zoom lens)!

After our picnic I went by the quilt shop to get some fabric and show off, and they loved it so much they’re planning on posting it on their blog! It should be here in a week or so: http://honeybeequiltstore.blogspot.com/

If you’re in Austin and need fabric, Honey Bee is the place to go! They have the best fabric and are super nice! I go in just to visit some days! They also know just about everything about quilting and offer loads of great classes (like my kids sewing camp coming up in June!).

I’m thinking of posting more kites on Etsy, if I can find a good source for kite parts (rods/clips/string). I don’t know that anyone would want an expensive kite body with cheap parts! If you want your own, feel free to message me with requests. And be sure to leave lots of comments!

Here is Spencer at kite fest trying to fix it for me (notice the bars on the front!)

And here are some pictures of the wonderful kite in action!

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And here is me with the kite (on the nice warm day)!

Pinwheel Quilt

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Ok…I’m back. New goal- 1 post/week. My problem is remembering to photograph my work! I’ve got finished projects for the next few months if I can keep up the 1/week rule, so wish me luck!

This quilt was done as a Christmas gift (2 1/2 moths ago!) for my Granny. The tutorial comes from my favorite website, Moda Bakeshop (www.modabakeshop.com). Moda Bakeshop is full of great tutorials, made by people who use Moda brand fabric. It is also where I find most of my favorite patterns! This one is called Eli’s Wheel and the tutorial can be found here:http://www.modabakeshop.com/2011/09/elis-wheels-quilt.html#more

It uses a pre-cut “jelly roll” (one of my favorite cutting shortcuts). Jelly rolls consist of 40 pre-cut strip of fabric 2 1/2″ x 44″ that can be combined in a variety of ways. If you’re new to quilting or have limited cut space or bad wrists, jelly rolls are a great option because they drastically reduce the amount of cutting you have to do and they are very accurate (both important for quilting).

Here are just a few examples of the variety you can get with jelly rolls (2 by me – 1 on the to do list)

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Here are some better views of the pinwheel quilt. For my next quilt I want to attempt either free motion quilting (VERY hard/ scary) or hand quilting (time consuming!).

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Embroidered Bookmark

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Hand embroidery is something new I picked up to occupy my hands during long holiday car rides. This is my first project, a Christmas gift for Spencer’s grandmother. Hand sewing felt like it allowed for more freedom and creativity than traditional sewing. This was probably because of how easy it was to adjust as I went along.

The book I got from JoAnn’s had an arsenal of stitches and patterns to start with. First, I had to trace the pattern onto the fabric using one of several methods. Then, the fabric went in the hoop. From there it was like a paint by numbers. Fairly simple and very therapeutic. I’m excited to try more complicated patterns.

If anyone wants to know what book I used, just ask!

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Over-night Bag

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This over-night bag was a really fun project. I used Simplicity pattern 2600 for quilted travel accessories.

http://www.simplicity.com/p-1558-accessories.aspx

Almost all of the pieces were simple squares (except for the ends) so it was really easy to cut out. Next time I’ll probably just measure the pattern pieces and cut them with my straight edge and rotary cutter, instead of trying to cut around the pattern paper.

The most difficult and time consuming part of the whole project was quilting the exterior to the lining. But, you can buy pre-quilted fabric and save your self a good bit of time.

I can see myself making more of these in the future to give as gifts. They’re also great for clearing out single yards of fabric that need homes.

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Margie’s Quilt

These photos have been hanging out in my computer for a while now, just waiting for Margie’s birthday! And now that she has turned another year older I finally get to share.

This quilt was created several months before Margie’s birthday, when I found a jelly roll of fabrics in her favorite colors on sale at JoAnn’s. I discretely asked for design advice on a quilt for “somebody else” to make sure she would like the pattern I picked, but never showed her the fabric because it would have been a dead give away …sometimes it’s fun to be devious!

I can’t remember exactly which tutorial I finally went with, but it might have been this on:

http://beesquarefabrics.blogspot.com/2009/03/how-to-make-zig-zag-quilt-without.html

It was great because I didn’t have to cut or sew any odd angles which meant less fabric waste!

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