Sunday, August 28, 2011

Rainy Day!

Here in Central New York we are in the outskirts of Hurricane Irene.  It has been raining pretty heavily since sometime before we woke up this morning!  I am reading on Facebook of all of the flooding and power outages in our area, but we have been lucky so far!

Luckily, a rainy day is a great time to sew :)  I finally finished the top of Gracie's quilt (I think I will save pictures until I am completely done with it).  I also sewed up half of the back of the quilt.  I am going for a patchwork kind of look.  The quilt is so big that I would have had to piece fabrics together to cover the whole back, so I figured, why not do something fun!  I need to get some more fabric, and batting - but that will have to wait for hubby's payday later in the week. This new hobby of mine isn't free!

I took the most amazing class yesterday at Tiger Lily Quilt Shop on Free Motion Quilting.  This is something I really wanted to get into.  I think it gives a finished quilt such an interesting look.  I was very intimidated, but it turns out it is not really that hard!  It is just like drawing, except you're using your sewing machine!  The instructor, Luanne Corts, was so knowledgable and informative.  I really loved her attitude towards quilting!  Basically, to do what you love - it might not be perfect, but it will be yours and it will be beautiful :)  She brought some of her samples, and they were truly spectacular - hopefully with some practice someday I might be half as good as her!

Here are just a few pics of my first time free motion quilting!  Yes - I am going to go for it and free motion quilt Gracie's quilt.  Lu assured me it could be done!  I figured it will be good practice since it is such a huge quilt, and when I get around to the baby quilts I will be an old pro!

(sorry about the quality of the photos - they are from my iPhone)

Friday, August 26, 2011

A quarter there!

I got a quarter of the top of Gracie's quilt together!  To be honest, I was getting so sick of looking at this fabric, but now that it is (partially) finished, I am really loving this color combination and design!  I'm hoping to finish the rest of the top this weekend, and then decide how I am going to quilt it!

We were supposed to go visit my family in Massachusetts this weekend, but everyone is very nervous about the upcoming hurricane, so we cancelled our trip.  I stopped into my local quilt shop yesterday and signed up for a free motion machine quilting class on Saturday!  I am so excited!  I also bought 3 new feet for my sewing machine (1/4" foot, walking foot, free motion quilting foot).  

I also have two dresses to work on for friends - another Lightning McQueen dress and a Princess Tiana dress!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 22, 2011

I guess I'm starting a blog!

I have been mulling starting a blog for the past week or so, and I finally got it up and running! For those who don't know me, I'm Kristy! I'm a stay at home mom to my daughter, Gracie and I have been sewing pretty much all of my life, thanks to the influence of my mother!  (And I love exclamation points and parenthesis.  I apologize in advance if that drives anyone crazy!)

I really want to get more into quilting (I just did my first hand stitched baby quilt and would like to move into machine quilting) and this blog will be a way for me to document both my progress and the new things I want to try. Along with some other crafts here and there :)  I love reading other quilting and crafting blogs, and I hope some of you can draw some inspiration from my blog as I have from others!

Here is a picture of the first quilt I ever made! I must have been 10 years old (obviously from this color palette!) Gracie sleeps with this on her bed now (at the time we were using it for a picnic blanket).  I can't believe this thing is still around, although it has seen better days!

(Gracie at 1 year old)

I have done probably a dozen quilts over the years, but of course I don't have (or can't find!) pictures of any of them, oh well, at least I will have this documented from now into the future!

More posts to come... I have had a few in my head so I just need to take pictures and post!

Fabric for my next project

It's going to be a baby quilt!  I think I have decided on a design, I'll share the progress as I go!!

First project with the Bernette - McQueen dress

Gracie is obsessed with Cars (Disney/pixar).  She loves the movie, she loves the characters, she loves the toys.  And that's fine with me.  I am glad she is not into the whole princess scene.  But they really do not sell any girl clothes with the Cars characters on them!

I went to Salvation Army the other day and scored these sheets for 49 cents!  Do you know how much they charge for Disney fabrics at Joann's?  A lot more than that!  So I washed this fabric and set off to make Gracie a dress.

I just used an old tank top of Gracie's, gathered the material for a skirt, and put a wide band at the waist to hide all of the seams :)  Next time I will take pictures through the process - but I was too excited to get at my new machine!  I also kept the tank top full length under the dress so that the gather of fabric at the waist doesn't irritate her.  We are going to Disney in October, so I know she will love to wear this to the parks one day!  I also have plans to make her some kind of Winnie the Pooh outfit!

This is the Cars dress I made her last year (yes - we have had this obsession for quite some time!)

New Sewing Machine!!

I have been thinking about getting a new sewing machine for a while now.  I got this Brother machine as a gift from my parents when I was 10.  So it is 20+ years old, and not very well taken care of (it's never been serviced).  But it has served me well over the past 20 years as I have been and on-again / off-again quilter and crafter.

I went into my local quilt shop (for the first time - I didn't even realize our city had one!) to talk to the owner, Donna, about what kind of machine I should be looking for.  Donna was so very nice and helpful, and there was a class going on while I was there, and the women were so friendly - I will definitely be back for supplies and will be taking a few classes too!

I told Donna the types of things I would like to do with my new machine (mainly piecing quilts and machine quilting) and she said the machine most of her customers use and recommend is the Bernina Aurora 440QE (Quilters Edition).  Great, how much does it cost?  $2900.  I think my husband might have a heart attack if I came home with a machine that cost so much!  After all, my job only gets paid in hugs and kisses (which is great, but I can't buy a machine with hugs and kisses - can I??)

Donna called her supplier in Syracuse to see if he had any refurbished machines, and he reminded her that she had the Bernina Bernette 46 sitting right on her shelf that would be perfect for me - at a perfect price point - $199!  My husband happily agreed to buy this as my early birthday gift!  I am so excited to have a new machine - and it is SO quiet!  I can actually get some sewing done when Gracie is napping and asleep for the night!  And did I mention how cute it is??

Someday, if I get really into quilting, maybe I will upgrade to a used QE, but for now I will be enjoying my new Bernette!

Thanks, Donna, for all of your help!

Gracie's quilt - progress

The whole time I was making the baby quilt, my three year old kept asking "When are you going to make MY quilt?  Are you done with the baby quilt YET??"  Yes, I am finally done!  Gracie and went through my stash and ventured out to the fabric store to choose colors for her quilt.  We decided on pinks (of course), teals, greens, oranges and yellows (did we miss any colors?!?).  I decided to make a HUGE quilt for her double size bed so that it will hide the sides of her bed.

Well, I saw a pattern I really liked, so I figured out how to make the blocks.   Did I mention it is 143 blocks??  It took me a long time to sew and cut these blocks.  About half way through I started reading some quilting blogs, and found out the pattern I had decided on has a name - it's called the "disappearing 9 block".  And the blocks are super easy to make.  I could have been done hours and hours ago.  Sigh.  I guess it pays to do a little research first!

But, I finally finished the blocks and now they are waiting in a pretty pile, to be squared off.  I haven't started the process, because I know it is going to take a long time.  And I have 5 baby quilts to make in the next two months... so I don't know how much Gracie's quilt is going to be put on the back burner.

Oh, and did I mention I really want to machine quilt this monster?  Maybe she will see this quilt by next winter!

Baby Quilt for Ashton

One of my friends from book club was pregnant with her second boy and I just really wanted to make a quilt for her!  I found this awesome tutorial at When Eight Create that I decided I wanted to use.

Well, I love the way the quilt ended up - made entirely with scraps (from mom's stash!) except for the white background.  I think if I were every to try this design again, I would make the squares bigger (these squares were TINY!) and I loved the square border, but it was just giving me a little bit of trouble.  It was my own fault - my 1/4" seams are a bit bigger than 1/4" so everything didn't line up quite right.  I just ordered a 1/4" foot for my machine, so that should help me in the future!

I hand quilted this with white embroidery floss in the white background.  My mom said I should stick to the white-on-white since it was my first time!  I love hand sewing, and it did take several nights to finish.  I would definitely hand embroider again, but only on a baby quilt!!!

It was also the first time I hand sewed my binding, and it really does make a difference to the finished look of the quilt!  I will only be doing hand stitched bindings in the future.

And my friend and new baby boy loved the quilt, so that's all that mattered!