One of the fun projects that I did last year was a Cube Quilt Along. I own an AccuQuilt cutting system and one of the products that they sell is a Cube. This is actually how the dies are packaged, in a cube. Each cube set has dies that create a specific size finished quilting block. The block size that I chose to use last year was the 8″ cube and the classic companion set which is an extra set of dies that coordinates to make a lager variety of blocks in each size. Although I’ve owned the AccuQuilt cutter for several years, and I’ve sewed for many many years, I’ve never done much quilting. This cube quilt along was a wonderful way for me to learn and practice more quilting. I worked on a consistent seam allowance and learned how the shapes worked together to form blocks. The other thing that I got to practice was learning more about color placement and color values.
Each week for 48 weeks Bea of Beaquilter provided instructions for a new block. It was fun to look forward to and nice to only have one block to do. Here is a picture of the entire set of 48 blocks. I guess I only have a picture of 42 of the blocks. I’ve got the rest pinned together and this weekend hope to get the rest done and sandwiched for quilting. I may decide to send it out however because it will be difficult for me to quilt on my machine and makes my shoulder hurt. I’m looking forward to the finish and am now working on the 2018 Cube quilt along. This year I’m using two entirely different color schemes and doing one with 9″ blocks and one with 12″ blocks. So far, I’ve enjoyed this as well.
Well, it’s a new year and I’m on to new projects. I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted updates and although the intention is good, somehow I don’t seem to update as often as I would like. I’m just going to start small with one of the fun projects that I did for the holidays. These paper pieced Santa’s were my holiday ornaments this year. I had so much fun doing them that I was sad to think I can’t do them and give them again next year. So I’m on the hunt. I still have a couple of months to think about it.
I made some thank you gifts for a Girl Scout event. I do love to make handmade gifts. I’m not sure they are always appreciated but I’ve made peace with the fact that not every gift is a hit whether it’s handmade or store purchased.
This event was a volunteer retreat and most of the people attending and volunteering to help have been Girl Scout members for many years. I’ve had some vintage Girl Scout fabric in my stash for several years and I decided it was time to use it to thank these special people. I made little flex frame pouches and fussy cut the fabric to frame the parts of the fabric that I wanted to use. Due to the printing on the fabric they all turned out a bit differently. I thought they turned out very well and were cute. I hope the recipients find them useful. It seems like I can always use a pouch or container for the little things like chapstick, change or even a charging cable.
And then there were bags. This too was a Christmas theme. Bags are another way that I like to organize. This year is was bags for Santa gifts and bags for lunches. Oh yes, and bags for shoes.
Even though the kids are adults it’s still fun to indulge in Santa gifts. These are never extravagant but usually things I’ve picked up along the way that I know they will use. It usually includes a toothbrush and this year was a little flashlight and a few other odds and ends. In my continuing quest to use my fabric stash I decided that Santa bags this year were going to be fabric bags. I was also going to start using my favorite fabrics instead of the things that were just OK or would do the job.
I also madethe girlfriend a shoe bag and another travel/storage bag. She was pleased and I think they were used on a trip to Mexico.
Daughter number 1 wanted a new lunch bag. She had been using a shoe bag from a previous year but wanted one with handles. I made her a modified shoe bag with handles but also made a lunch bag and added some storage containers.
This was a flex frame Christmas. Or what I mean to say is I made lots of flex frame pouches this year for Christmas gifts. It’s really kind of addicting. Once I figured out a pattern it was hard for me to leave them alone.
When I was trying to decide what to make that would be fast, easy and fun I always start with zip pouches. The friends who have known me for a long time however have zip pouches. I do like to make them. I find them useful and it helps me feel organized.
This year I remembered seeing some flex frame tutorials and thought this might be fast and easy. I read a few tutorials that I found on the internet and then searched for flex frames. My friend Amazon of course had many sources for flex frames. My confusion was that they were all given in metric measurements. I used a converter tool to see what size they really were in inches and bought a package of 30. I knew that I would make several for Christmas and I had an event in January that I could use them for and then would still have a few left for future projects.
When I got the frames the first step was to create a pattern. The first one I decided was too deep. By the time I opened the pouch, it was hard to reach the bottom. The second time the channels for the frame were a little bit too long and wide. Once I had a pattern I cut and sewed several at one time. They were so cute it was hard to stop. I have about 6 more to make this week and then I think I’m done for a bit and ready to get back to finishing several more baby quilts that I’ve started and put aside.
More babies are coming. I’ve made a number of baby quilts and things in 2016 and already working on the first ones for 2017. I do like making baby things because they are fast and I can try different patterns and colors. I can then pass it on but I never really know if they will be used and most often I don’t hear anything or see them being used. Occasionally, I do hear that a quilt I’ve made is an important part of the bedtime routine. Once it’s out of my hands whatever will be will be but it’s nice to know it’s appreciated.
This quilt and the tag blanket and pacifier clips were for a surprise baby. The baby is anxiously being waited for by the family.
The Farmers Wife 1930’s is a sampler quilt book written by Laurie Hurd. There are quilt blocks and letters from farm wife’s that were written in the 1930’s and compiled to make a quilt.
There are always “quilt alongs” on the web and this one seems to be popular this fall and winter. The coordinator of the one that I am doing is Angie at Gnomeangel.com Each week since the end of September she has released two or three blocks for any one that wants to join and you can choose your own fabrics/colors and sew it your way. She has been great at giving several options on ways to cut and sew the blocks each week. Not only does she have many bloggers involved with tutorials, there is also a Facebook page and an Instagram hashtag so you can follow and see what others all over the world are doing. It’s been great fun to see the different colors and skills and learn some new tricks. It’s also been great practice for me learning to cut and sewing accurately and consistently. This has been met with moderate success on my part. I keep reminding myself that it doesn’t have to be perfect and I’m learning and practicing and each one will get better. I do find it’s better if I can sew more often. This fall I’ve had mixed success with that as well. I hope that now we’ve arrived in January, I’ll have the time and inclination to catch up. I’ve decided to do mine in somewhat of a rainbow theme but most likely it will be a bit “scrappy” because I decided I need to use fabric that I have on hand and not purchase more new fabric. It’s been fun and I’m now headed back to the machine!
More babies. It certainly is that time for many young families. I had the pleasure of making one more baby gift before I start on the Christmas sewing. One of middle daughters good friends recently had a baby and she assured me that this friend would treasure a quilt for her new baby because no one in her family did those kinds of things.
I do like to make baby quilts. The are usually fun to make, I can try new things and it doesn’t need to be perfect. This quilt fit all of those criteria. To begin with the white fabric that I planned on using needed to be replaced when I started to sew. It was so cheap looking compared to the rest of the fabrics I just couldn’t use it. Well, I suppose I could have but it didn’t look right. I was also starting to feel a bit pressured because I knew the baby was coming and would likely be early and I seemed to be quite busy with work so didn’t feel like sewing in the evening. I started to cut the strips to use in the die cutter and made several of the strips too narrow. I could have made them work but knew the fabric was more likely to stretch when I cut the shapes. I finally got everything cut, started to sew and changed my mind on the arrangement so had to recalculate and sew some more.I decided the colors of the fabric that I was going to use on the back wouldn’t look good so I went shopping again. Yes, some of the pieces did stretch and it didn’t lay very flat when I was done piecing the top. After quilting however, and washing. It looks fine, I love the colors and I know the mom and baby will not care if all the points don’t match and it’s not perfect. It will keep the baby warm or be a good quilt to put on the floor and work fine that way too.
The bib was made to try a new quilting pattern. That worked fine too and all have been mailed and received by the new mom.
Minions and pin cushions were next on the list. A friend saw the orange Minion pillow cases and wanted a blue one for her college age daughter. It was fun to make and I added a little coin purse. This fabric was great quality and had a great feel to it so it was fun to sew.
Next was a pin cushion for a friend. After reading about other folks using this pattern I was hesitant and I procrastinated it took me a long time to make it. When I was done, I realized there were several things I could have done differently had I known but it turned out OK and wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it might be. A win for sure.